Declining an applicant

10 Replies

Hi BP Fam! 

I have a question as I am new to landlording. I have a back house in the Marina Del Rey (90066) area to be rent out. So far, I have one applicant (a couple moving from out of state) but they do not meet our criteria. I'm basing this on their credit scores and their self-reported income. The back house is really only ideal for 1 tenant. Regardless, their self-reported income does not make sense and it did not meet 3X the rent as a couple. I'm going to decline their application but I wanted to see if anyone has any feedback on best practices or responses on denying an applicant in California. Also, SmartMove does not provide past employers, references or proof of income. Income Insights on SmartMove mentions that I cannot deny an applicant based on that report alone. However, I don't want to ask the applicant for this extra step when I plan on denying them anyway. 

Any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks in advance! 

What jobs did they have in prior state? Do they have some transfer or just hope to find same line of work? If income stated is too small you can use the income ratio as reason to deny them in California.

Easiest way is to decline their application simply by stating they do not meet your criteria for this rental property (I'm assuming you post this criteria in your ads).

the owner/landlord/property manager criteria is they must have a certain income. Applicants must meet financial criteria from the get go. If they show they do not then they do not meet the criteria. I always require real W2's, paycheck stubs and I call current/former employers. Trust and verify.

I do heavy phone screening, send no more than 5 applications and no application fee. Notification is "I have selected another applicant, thank you for your interest, I wish you the best".  

@Kasey Destache I screen my applicants ahead of time by telling them my rental criteria up front. When they don't pass the criteria, I mention that they fail to meet the criteria and will most likely be denied but I am happy to show the unit anyway.  That has eliminated 99% of all applicants that don't meet the criteria prior to them even seeing the unit, which saves me a ton of time. Just be transparent but be willing to complete the process even if they fail the criteria. If they are willing to pay an application fee even though they know they will be denied, so be it.

The question I read (not saying I am right!) is how do you deny a tenant.  We do it in writing and list the criteria they failed to meet.  For example, low income or credit issues/score.  But we always do it in writing via email and keep a copy on hand for future reference.