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How to Properly Screen Renters for Your DC Rowhomes for Rent

EJF Real Estate Services - Thursday, April 8, 2021

An effective property listing will bring plenty of rental applicants to your door. What do you do with the applications? How do you determine which prospective renters are the best choice for your DC rowhomes for rent?

Real estate investors need a thorough screening process to evaluate and qualify potential residents. Relying on the information an applicant puts on an application—without digging deeper into their background—puts your property and income at risk. 

Bad renters can appear like good potential residents based on their initial paperwork. Before placing another resident and dealing with an expensive problem when that renter doesn't pay the rent, follow these tips to properly screen renters for your DC properties.

Understand Privacy Laws

A thorough screening means you'll handle sensitive data about each rental property applicant. Do you understand the laws about handling private information? If not, make sure your screening service provider knows and follows the laws as an FCRA (Federal Credit Reporting Act) compliant partner. Violating these regulations puts applicants at risk. You could also lose the ability to operate your rental properties and face fines or lawsuits.

Mans hand, holding classic styled magnifying glassBefore trusting an online credit check service, it's worth the extra effort to check their compliance practices. A property manager handles screening information for your DC rowhomes for rent by following all FCRA and privacy laws. This applies to:

  • Credit history
  • Criminal background information
  • Prior rental history
  • Employment and income verification information

You'll never have to worry about information privacy issues when choosing the right DC property manager to handle the renter screening process. 

Carefully Follow Anti-Discrimination Laws

Choosing your next resident can never include discriminatory practices—even if you're unaware of the rules or that you've done something wrong. Rental property owners have the responsibility to deliver a fair renter screening and selection process every time it's necessary to fill a vacancy. 

Portrait Of Couple By Open Front Door In Lounge Of New HomeWhat is discrimination? Choosing a renter based on gender, race, religion, familial status, and other criteria defined by the Fair Housing Act qualifies as a discriminatory practice. With a property manager, real estate investors avoid actions that can be considered a violation of Fair Housing laws, including:

  • Advertising rental property criteria that place a limitation or preference based on religion, race, gender, or any other protected category
  • Using different criteria based on a specific applicant or group
  • Telling an applicant that your rental isn't available (when it is)
  • Allowing different privileges for some renters but not others
  • End a lease for unlawful reasons
  • Not requiring renters insurance for all residents as part of your standard criteria

We're not trying to scare you away from conducting a thorough screening process. However, if it feels overwhelming to understand anti-discrimination laws and follow legal practices, a property manager can navigate this process (legally) and efficiently every time you need a new renter for your DC rowhomes for rent.

Partner With a Property Manager

Choosing a renter is not a small decision. It's challenging to wait and screen for the best quality resident when your property experiences weeks (or months) without rental income due to vacancy. 

We understand that "any" new renter can seem like a good idea rather than going another month with an empty property—but a bad resident is worse than having no renter at all. Bad renters cause property damage, don't pay the rent, and leave you with an expensive problem to deal with when you're finally able to remove them from the property. 

We Protect Your Investments

The right DC property manager applies expert screening practices, stays up-to-date and follows all laws, and reduces vacancy times for DC rowhomes for rent. Taking the time to screen doesn't delay your next renter's move-in date. It's time well-spent to find a quality renter that pays the rent and takes good care of your rental.

We find quality renters and minimize vacancy times with a combination of:

  • Starting the new-renter search as soon as we learn that an existing resident won't renew the lease
  • Expert marketing that attracts quality applicants 
  • A screening process that's through (and fast)
  • Applying pre-established criteria to every applicant for a fair selection process

We don't ignore the rules or create delays. Our process protects your properties and income while placing the best renters in DC. 

Screen for the Best With a DC Property Manager

The best way to screen for the best renters properly is with a DC property management company. Your DC rowhomes for rent deserve the best residents, but there's no need to worry about who lives in your rentals or if your screening process is legal. 

EJF Real Estate Services helps investors find quality renters without delay. We follow all Fair Housing and FCRA laws to protect private data and your investments. With better renters, investors also experience better renewal rates and ROIs. Before you choose another renter, contact us for a free consultation.

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