Standards for your tenants. What are your minimums?

5 Replies

What are the minimum standards you set for tenants applying for your rental properties? Obviously following fare housing laws. For my area it is a lower income area. Not the best part of town.

We rent to low-income and mid-income tenants. Our rental criteria can be downloaded from the BP "File Place", look for documents authored by me under "Other Documents". Too lengthy to list here, but the categories are: General Requirements, Residence/Rental History, Income/Employment History, Financial/Credit History, and Legal/Criminal History.

In Washington State we're required to show applicants our rental criteria before we can accept an application fee. We print out our rental criteria and hand it to applicants along with the application (paper method). Some landlords provide this information through an on-line portal. Most prospective renters won't apply if they read our rental criteria and see they won't qualify. Since we let it known that we do verify all information, rarely does an applicant try to fabricate their history to match our criteria.

@Ryan L Grinstead  

We rent in a military town to mid income tenants. 

3x rent in Verifiable Income

600 credit score 

Positive references from landlords in the past five years. 

No evictions/bankruptcies/ unpaid judgements

We tell them we will run a background check and handle felony convictions on a case by case basis in order not to run afoul of any disparate impact claims.

We publish this in all of our ads, the tenant questionnaire, and their application. 


Good to check your landlord tenant laws for anything specific in which you can and cannot do, but here is what I have on my Resident Selection Criteria. This is the last one I have on my computer, as all of our tenants now apply online with the most recent updates:

  1. All Adult applicants 18 or older must submit a fully completed, dated and signed residency application and fee. Applicant must provide proof of identity. A Non refundable Application fee is $50.00 for the initial application and $50.00 for each additional adult who may co-sign and/or plans to occupy the rental property. Applicant may be required to be approved by a condo/homeowner’s association and may have to pay an additional application fee or an additional security or damage deposit.
  1. Applicants must have a combined gross income of at least three times the monthly rent. We reserve the right to require a co signer. A minimum of two years residential rental history is required.
  1. Credit history and or Civil Court Records must not contain slow pays, judgments, eviction filing, collections, liens or bankruptcy within the past 5 years. We will not provide you with the credit report or tell you of its contents but will provide you with the name of the credit reporting agency so you may receive a free copy.
  1. Self-employed applicants may be required to produce upon request 2 years of tax returns or 1099s.
  1. Non-employed individuals must provide proof of income.
  1. All sources of other income must be verifiable if needed to qualify for a rental unit.
  1. Criminal records must contain no convictions for misdemeanors for crimes involving violence, assault or battery, drugs, firearms; felonies within the past seven years and no sexual offenses ever. In the event a record comes back "adjudication withheld", “nolle prosse”, or “adjudication deferred”, further documentation may be required and applicant may be denied on this basis.
  1. Previous rental history reports from landlords must reflect timely payment, sufficient notice of intent to vacate, no complaints regarding noise, disturbances or illegal activities, no NSF checks, and no damage to unit or failure to leave the property clean and without damage at time of lease termination.
  1. No pets (with the exception of medically necessary pets) of any kind are permitted without specific written permission of landlord in the lease document, an addendum to lease, a non-refundable pet fee acceptable to landlord and/or an additional pet deposit or additional security deposit. Fees and deposits are waived for medically necessary pets. The following pets are not allowed: snakes, frogs, spiders, ferrets or other exotic animals
  1. Resident(s) will be required to pay a security deposit at the time of lease execution in a minimum amount of one months rent unless otherwise stated or offered. We reserve the right to require a higher security deposit and or additional prepaid rent. Non-United States citizens will be required to pay additional deposits.
  1. The number of occupants must be in compliance with HUD standards/guidelines for the applied unit.
  1. We may require a holding or good faith deposit to be collected to hold a property off the market. In the event the application is approved and applicant fails to enter into a lease, the applicant shall forfeit this deposit. In the event the application is approved, this deposit shall be applied to the required security deposit.
  1. Any exceptions to these criteria will need to be submitted in writing to the rental agent for presentation to the landlord for consideration. If approval is then given for such exceptions, additional security, co-signers, and/or additional advance rent payments may be required.
  1. Our company policy is to report all non-compliance’s with terms of your rental agreement or failure to pay rent, or any amounts owed to the credit bureau.

Photo ID is provided at submission and the photo matches the person handing it to me, and the information from the ID matches what is reported on the application. I uncover most problems right there. After that, I use month to month leases.

My minimum standards are attached to each rental application. The potential tenant must sign it and return with the completed application.  I used the bigger pockets rental app form.

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