While ordering background check on a prospective tenant, an average landlord would normally focus on the subject’s criminal and credit history check. But wouldn’t it make sense to add some emphasis to locating possible eviction history of your subject? Especially considering that some jurisdictions prohibit discrimination based on criminal history or conviction of certain types of crimes.
If you so far have failed to include screening your potential tenants against existing databases of evictions into the list of pre-rent checks to be done, this is the sort of the omission that should be corrected further on.
The very first thing you are advised to do during the interview with the applicant is to ask a question whether your potential tenant has had any evictions in the past. If in the process of background check that can follow it comes up that the subject lied to you, that taken alone may form substantial grounds for legally refusing to let such tenant in.
But what if your applicant honestly responds he or she does have eviction history and that they are on the record, but you still don’t like them and wouldn’t like to get into landlord-tenant relationship with them? This is the very instance you should be ready to produce your leasing policy.
Landlord can safely refuse to rent to someone with a fresh eviction record who was evicted for non-payment. But if the eviction record of your subject in not too recent, and if the eviction was due to something different than refusing to pay the rent in time (for example, eviction due to keeping pets in animal-restricted area), you will be better off if you don’t just reject bluntly. You may, as a landlord, after some background history check, opt to accept applicant with eviction record. Especially if they rent together with a responsible co-signer, who qualifies.
Talking to some property managers with experience, I discovered that many of them stick to the rule that if the eviction record is somewhere around 10 years old or so, then instead of rejecting your tenant, you should run some investigation of his/her eviction history through
available to you. On many instances you will find out that your prospective tenant’s past eviction was just due to very young age of the individual. If your potential renter is able to provide good references (that can be verified too) and doesn’t refuse to submit to a tenant background check, you may consider signing a lease agreement with certain reservations prompted to you by your common sense, your own past experience, and the current situation on the rentals market.