Screening Questions

8 Replies

Hello, 

I was wondering if anyone could look over my screening questions to see if #1 they are all legal, #2 am I missing anything.  This is done before I do a showing or give them an application.  Here is my "plan of attack" to finding a renter:

1. Screening questions (listed below)

2. After passing questions, set up a showing, if they like the place have them fill out an application.

3. Call references to see if they qualify.

4. Those that qualify notify them that the last step is to run a credit and background check, I am going to use smartmove to do this.  I am thinking of letting them know one at a time so they don't waste their money if they don't get chosen.

Anyways...here are my questions:

  • 1.Why are you looking to move at this time?
  1. How many people will be living in the residence?(adults/minors)
  • 3.One of the minimum requirements is 2.5 times monthly income for everyone over 18 on the lease, which is roughly $3,000 a month.Do you meet this requirement?
  • 4.Another minimum requirement is being able to run a background and credit check.We use smartmove.com to do this. Will there be a problem with running a credit/criminal background check on all applicants over 18 years old at a cost of $35 to each applicant?
  • 5.Do you have any pets? Y/N Can you give a brief description (ages/breeds/sizes)
  • a.If YES and dog/cat meets criteria.Another requirement is us meeting your dog and making sure it gets along with our dog, will you be willing to do this?
  • 6.Another requirement is rental references, can you briefly describe your rental history (where, how many years) and are you willing to give us references?
  • 7.We require our renters to purchase renter’s insurance to protect you and your belongings.Will you have any issues proving you have renter’s insurance before signing a lease?
  • 8.Does anyone that will be living in the unit smoke?
  • 9.We use an online source for rent payment, will you have internet access and an email account?
  • 10.Have you ever had an eviction in the past? If yes, explain?
  • 11.Do you have any questions for me?

Thanks!

With all of these hoops people will need to jump through and qualify for to live in your rental unit I am assuming this rental is in a very good area?

I had it posted for 5 hours and got 6 people contacting me about it.  So I would believe it is in a desirable area.  I live next door, so I want to make sure I have a good living situation.  I also have the rent lower than other comparable properties in my area because I know this is an intensive process.  

I would be careful with the question about the number of people living in the residence. Declining an applicant because of family status or number of children may be challenged as discrimination, unless you have a valid reason (e.g. more people per bedroom than the code allows). Keep in mind that tenants have access to free legal aid (at least low income ones), landlords do not.

Why does their dog have to get along with yours? Is this a duplex? 

Originally posted by @Amy L. :

Why does their dog have to get along with yours? Is this a duplex? 

 yes.  I live in the other side.

Originally posted by @Rumen Mladenov :

I would be careful with the question about the number of people living in the residence. Declining an applicant because of family status or number of children may be challenged as discrimination, unless you have a valid reason (e.g. more people per bedroom than the code allows). Keep in mind that tenants have access to free legal aid (at least low income ones), landlords do not.

 I had this in there to make sure they don't overcrowd (2 people per bedroom), but now I am looking and see that it can be challenged based on size of the bedrooms and other factors.  I think Ill take that out as a screening question and just have them fill in that info on the application.  

Originally posted by @Brian Hellenbrand :
  • 3.One of the minimum requirements is 2.5 times monthly income for everyone over 18 on the lease, which is roughly $3,000 a month.Do you meet this requirement?

This requirement is unusual. It's more common to require the total household income to meet the income requirement. Think about these two examples:

Example #1 - Family of 3....dad, mom, and 1-month old baby. Dad is a doctor and makes $10,000/month. Mom is a stay-at-home mom with the infant. They wouldn't qualify by your standards because everyone over 18 doesn't make 2.5 times the rent, yet it would seem they are more than able to pay the listed rent. 

Example #2 - Family of 4....dad, mom, 19-yr old daughter attending community college, 16-yr old son attending high school. Dad makes $5,000/month, mom makes $3,000/month, daughter only makes $1,000/month at a part time job while going to school, son doesn't make anything. They wouldn't qualify either because the daughter (who is over 18) doesn't meet the 2.5 times monthly income requirement, yet this family also seems more than able to pay the listed rent. 

Anyway, just something to consider when developing your minimum rental requirements so you don't exclude some otherwise qualified candidates. 

Originally posted by @Kyle J. :
Originally posted by @Brian Hellenbrand:
  • 3.One of the minimum requirements is 2.5 times monthly income for everyone over 18 on the lease, which is roughly $3,000 a month.Do you meet this requirement?

This requirement is unusual. It's more common to require the total household income to meet the income requirement. Think about these two examples:

Example #1 - Family of 3....dad, mom, and 1-month old baby. Dad is a doctor and makes $10,000/month. Mom is a stay-at-home mom with the infant. They wouldn't qualify by your standards because everyone over 18 doesn't make 2.5 times the rent, yet it would seem they are more than able to pay the listed rent. 

Example #2 - Family of 4....dad, mom, 19-yr old daughter attending community college, 16-yr old son attending high school. Dad makes $5,000/month, mom makes $3,000/month, daughter only makes $1,000/month at a part time job while going to school, son doesn't make anything. They wouldn't qualify either because the daughter (who is over 18) doesn't meet the 2.5 times monthly income requirement, yet this family also seems more than able to pay the listed rent. 

Anyway, just something to consider when developing your minimum rental requirements so you don't exclude some otherwise qualified candidates. 

 Kyle, thank you, this is why I needed this community.   I meant total income for everyone together but my wording was obviously terrible.  Thanks for picking up on that. I will reword the question

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