Not every tenant is going to be an ideal tenant. If you have gone through the application process with a prospective tenant and you decide that person does not qualify for your rental property, you can reject that applicant. When you are deciding against someone, make sure you are following all fair housing laws and you’re not rejecting the application for illegal reasons.
Here is a list of legal reasons you can reject an applicant:
- Poor credit history. You can have a specific credit score or a standard of credit worthiness.
- Not enough income. You want a tenant who earns enough to pay the rent.
- Poor references from a previous landlord. If a former landlord did not have a good experience with a tenant, you can reject the application.
- Record of evictions and civil lawsuits.
- Criminal convictions for drug trafficking, or the distribution or manufacturing of drugs.
- Incomplete or inaccurate rental application. If an applicant lies in his application, chances are good that he’s not going to be a great tenant.
- Inability to comply with the terms of the lease. Maybe an applicant cannot come up with the required security deposit, or doesn’t want to rent the place for the required length of time.
If an applicant is a marginal risk, you can increase the security deposit or require a first and last month’s rental payment. You want to put any reasons in writing. Explain why you are collecting a higher deposit, and have the tenant sign that form.
When you reject an applicant, you’ll need to provide a written form that communicates that rejection, and then you’ll need to mail it to the applicant. You shouldn’t feel bad about rejecting an applicant if your reasons are sound and documented. If you need any help establishing rental criteria, or you’re not sure you have a good reason for rejecting an applicant, contact us at Cape Shore Property Management, and we’d be happy to talk to you more about this topic.