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Tenant Background Screening

CA Landlord-Tenant Lawyer

Finding a trustworthy tenant for your rental property is not as easy as it may seem. As a landlord, you need to be vigilant while you search through your prospective applicants. You need to make fair and reasonable judgments when selecting tenants. In general, landlords choose tenants who can pay rent on time and take good care of the property. You want peace of mind in knowing that you are selecting an applicant who can treat your rental investment responsibly. One of the best ways to help you select prospective tenants is by conducting a comprehensive tenant background screening. A credible San Francisco landlord-tenant lawyer can help you understand the importance of performing a background check for every applicant considered for rent. At Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C., we have extensive years of experience in dealing with tenant background screenings, landlord-tenant disputes, and real estate issues. Our legal team is committed to helping our clients protect their rights and achieve their goals as landlords or tenants. Call us now and schedule an initial consultation.

What is Tenant Background Screening?

Tenant background screening refers to a thorough background check performed on a prospective tenant. It determines whether or not a potential tenant’s application will be approved or denied. It is conducted to assess the likelihood that the applicant will fulfill the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Each applicant will undergo the screening process as a way to help the landlord decide which potential tenant is the best fit for their rental unit. This type of full background check goes beyond credit history to check an applicant’s rental, financial, employment, and criminal history. The tenant screening background investigation includes a consumer credit check, eviction report, residence history, income, and employment verification of the applicant. If you do not perform a background screening on tenants, you are putting the safety and security of your rental property, and any other tenants who share that property, at risk. With the help of a tenant background screening lawyer in San Francisco, you can carefully analyze and make the best decisions about tenants’ applications.

What are the San Francisco Tenant Background Screening Laws?

There are several San Francisco tenant background screening laws that a landlord must follow before choosing a tenant. These state laws are in place to help landlords and property owners legally select the best tenant for their rental properties. The state of California and the federal government have established a set of criteria so landlords don’t discriminate against protected classes. A reliable San Francisco tenant background screening attorney can ensure that you comply with the federal and state laws during the tenant screening process.
  • The state of California and the city of San Francisco has an annual limit on the amount for application fees.
  • Application fees are non-refundable.
  • No discrimination of protected classes when processing applications.
  • Rejecting applications that are incomplete or don’t meet your screening criteria is fine and legal.

What are the Factors to Consider in Tenant Screening?

All prospective tenants must fill out the rental application completely and accurately. Landlords should check whether all the information contained on the application is valid before proceeding with the background check. Every landlord has the right to conduct a comprehensive background screening on applicants, but only if they have signed a document giving consent for you to do so. There are several factors that you need to consider when screening potential tenants. A knowledgeable landlord-tenant lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area can help you determine the factors that matter most during the tenant screening process.

Income and Employment Verification

Having a sufficient monthly income is one of the most important factors considered in screening potential tenants. You’ll want to ensure that all your tenants have the income to pay the rent each month. You may ask the applicant for copies of recent paycheck stubs, bank statements, tax returns, or any other proof of income.

Credit Report

A tenant’s credit report will show you their overall credit score, current debts, and payment history. These factors can be used as the basis to determine whether or not a tenant will likely pay rent on time. You need to get the applicant’s consent first before running a credit report. When evaluating credit scores, keep in mind that people can have low credit scores for a variety of reasons.

Landlord References and Rental History

San Francisco landlords may contact current and previous landlords of a prospective tenant to check your rental history. This can either come in the form of a formal letter or through a phone call. You may check whether the applicant has any history of late payments, disruptive behavior, or major property damage done in the past. This will allow you to ensure that the tenant has paid rent on time and left the rental unit in good condition.

Criminal History

It is crucial to run a criminal background check for prospective tenants to ensure the safety of your rental property, other tenants, and neighbors. If your prospective tenant has a history of run-ins with the law, you may want to investigate the nature and severity of the crimes committed. Renting to a tenant with a serious criminal background becomes the landlord’s liability.

Speak to our Experienced San Francisco Landlord-Tenant Lawyer Now!

Tenant background screening is an important task for anyone who owns a rental property. As a landlord, it is imperative to be clear and fair when screening potential tenants. It is crucial to follow the steps in the tenant screening process and obey the landlord-tenant laws of San Francisco. Finding the right tenant can be tough. However, you don’t have to deal with this daunting task alone. If you have questions about tenant screening or other real estate legal matters, do not hesitate to consult our competent San Francisco landlord-tenant attorneys at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C. Our dedicated landlord-tenant law firm can help you perform a comprehensive tenant background screening in compliance with the landlord-tenant laws of San Francisco. We strive to protect your rights and interests as landlords and tenants. Contact us now and schedule an initial consultation.
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