Legally picking applicants

5 Replies

I just listed my property and am getting about 1-2 replies a day and have set up three viewings so far.  Thing is it sounds like some tenants might be preferable over others (example one is looking for 2 year lease and sounded qualified).  

Can I take  a handful of applications over the week and cherry pick?  I know the protected class thing but do I have to take them in order or can I tell people I will decide in say 5-10 business days and choose the best?

What is your processes?

You most certainly do NOT have to take the first application you receive even if they are qualified. You may accept the best qualified applicant.  You can determine the selection criteria as long as it does not include the protected classes. For instance, I will never rent to a cop nor a lawyer no matter how qualified they may appear on paper. Neither of these are protected classes.

If a cop becomes a problem other cops will often refuse to do anything about it. Cops know the legal system and all the players. They can be very difficult to evict if it became necessary. 

Hi Joe, to objectively evaluate tenants, first determine your underwriting criteria (credit score, income, rental history, lease terms, etc.) and place a score for each (1-5, 5 being the highest). The person with the highest score should win. There are always extenuating circumstances to also consider, but this is a good start. Hope this helps.

Sure you can take a couple applications and pick the best. Just be upfront about your process but I would not wait 10 days. I would keep the decision process as short as possible. Your best candidates have options, wait and you will lose them.  Unqualified candidates deserve a quick response so they can move on too.   Are you charging for applications?  If so it is good to pre-screen. Set your criteria and  review the paper if they won't qualify I turn them down without background or credit. Sometimes they put things on the application even when you have said I don't accept this  or that.   check references.

 Also I would not automatically consider someone who is saying they want to be long term first.  People use that I want a two year lease I am going to stay forever etc to make them seem like a better choice.  They are going to move when they are going to move. The only real indicator of long term tenancy to me is previous long term tenancy and that is not  foolproof.  Maybe my experience is atypical but every tenant that has said I am looking for long term has had a crisis and not fulfilled their terms.