Property Management Blog

How should I set up a screening process for prospective tenants?

Web Admin - Tuesday, October 06, 2015

It depends upon the property usage and type. Additionally, each region has certain standards and these should be reviewed with local representatives familiar with the process. 

In general, the property manager provides the tenant applicant with the lease application which must be filled out for the interview. A leasing agent may assist during the review process, but the final selection of tenant(s) is ultimately the property manager and owner’s responsibility. 

All leasing personnel should be informed that the company does not discriminate on the basis of an applicant’s race, sex, color, creed, or national origin. 

The screening process helps determine the prospect’s desirability and verifies financial and nonfinancial qualifications. When all information has been received, the applicant’s file should be given to the property manager and/or owner for final review. Decisions made during this process are based on the following criteria: 

  • Impressions created by the prospect when interviewed. 
  • The prospect’s employment history if the prospect is applying for residential space, company or business history if the prospect is applying for commercial space. 
  • Information gathered from verifying the prospect’s references and from the completion of a credit check. 
  • Compatibility of the tenant to the property type. 

When the application is approved, the property manager should prepare the lease and other appropriate documents that require the applicant’s signature. Commercial tenants will probably have an attorney review the lease, which may require a certain amount of negotiation. Upon approval, the lease is signed, and security deposits and rent payments are collected as specified in the lease. 

When an applicant is disapproved, he/she should be promptly notified. If the disqualification resulted from a credit check, the law requires that the applicant be informed of this. To protect against possible litigation, rejected applications should be kept on file with complete statements about why applications were rejected.