How to Screen Tenants: A Guide for Atlanta Rental Property Owners

As an Atlanta property owner, you're likely keenly aware of the risks that come with renting your home to a tenant. When the resident doesn't pay rent and damages the property, you lose money! When a renter is less than ideal and hassles you every day, you lose time! 

Screening tenants for these potential problems is the best way to avoid costly mistakes (including the time and expense of finding a better renter when a terrible one finally moves out). Today our Atlanta property management team tells you everything you need to know about how to screen tenants to afford the hassles and income loss that come with bad renters.

Young Woman Sit In Armchair Using Table Computer, Hispanic Man Point Finger To Screen


Set Your Criteria

When you're deciding how to screen tenants, your tenant criteria must be as objective as possible. Qualifications and requirements should be set before you being screening prospective tenants. 

Property management experts will tell you that setting requirements at the start can prevent legal problems if potential renters feel like they've experienced discriminatory practices during the screening process. Setting criteria ahead of time and applying them fairly to all applicants is the best way to start the process of reviewing and placing your next resident. 

Use an FCRA-Compliant Screening Partner

What is the FCRA (Federal Credit Reporting Act), and why does it matter when screening tenants? These regulations define how to process and protect private information when conducting things like credit and background checks. Violating these rules can lead to lawsuits, fines, and shutting down your rental properties. 

When choosing a screening partner to conduct background checks, make sure they're FCRA compliant. Saving money on low-cost screening services could mean you're using a third-party provider or online resource that doesn't follow privacy laws appropriately. Doing this puts your rental properties and income at risk! 

The property management company complies with privacy laws when handling data for potential renters and current residents. If you're not sure that your current screening solution complies, working with a reputable Atlanta property manager is a smart decision to protect your investments and find quality renters!

Don't Skip Critical Information

An applicant's criminal history might come back clean, but if their prior rental history or credit isn't ideal, you could be placing a bad tenant in your property. 

A property manager will tell you that all tenant screenings should be thorough. For every applicant, apply the same background research, including:

Business man working with laptop

Skipping any of these background areas could leave you with an incomplete picture of a person you're conspiring for a new lease in your rental property. Atlanta property managers also know that leaving out the credit history or income verification for one applicant (but not others) can also lead to discrimination claims and a lawsuit. 

Avoid Discriminatory Practices

In addition to following FRCA guidelines for handling private information, make sure your process follows all Fair Housing laws. These regulations prevent landlords from choosing tenants based on race, gender, sexual preference, religion, familial status, and other protected statuses. 

As property management experts, we can't stress enough how important it is to set up fair criteria and a screening process when it's time to find new residents for your rental properties. Fair processes allow real estate investors to find the best quality renters in Metro Atlanta. An Atlanta property manager recommends taking steps to market and screen residents fairly to protect yourself from lawsuits and fines. 

Maximizing rental income for your long-term real estate investments requires a complete understanding of what you can and can't do to place residents in your rentals. Dealing with fines and costly lawsuits due to skipping critical aspects of a legal screening process can put a significant dent in your cash flow and long-term revenue. 

Work With Professionals to Screen Tenants

If you've been relying on an online tenant screening service (or skipping background checks altogether), it's time to review your process and ensure that it follows the law! Complying with regulations helps investors avoid costly mistakes and helps the best tenants find their homes in your rentals. 

The right Atlanta property management company has the resources you need to screen tenants thoroughly and legally. From setting criteria to fairly evaluating every applicant and storing data properly, choosing a capable property manager is worth it when you experience better tenants, more income, and fewer legal issues. 

Full-Service Atlanta Property Management Services Screen Excellent Tenants!

Finding good tenants in the Atlanta area isn’t often as easy as reviewing an application and making a judgment call. To benefit from better renters, landlords must put a thorough screening process in place that protects their investments by following all laws for selecting residents. 

Work with Compass Property Management to find the right fit through our legal tenant screening methods. We apply expert property management services to help owners avoid lengthy litigation or eviction proceedings down the line. If you're ready to experience better tenants (and income), let's talk about how our tenant screening services can help. 

Learn more about screening best practices! Download our free Tenant Screening Checklist.