List Your Rental Criteria

by Andrea West

Posted on 2017-07-03 12:51:13

Look up a job posting. Just about any job posting you like. What does it list? Usually a blurb about the company, the job description, required qualifications, and extra qualifications they would prefer. Employers tell you what they want in their new employee from the get-go.

So why don’t landlords do the same for the rental application process?

I have a cousin who works for the homeless shelter in her state. She helps place people in housing and one of the most frustrating aspects of her job is how few landlords list their rental criteria.

“Not only do they not list it,” she told me, “but when I call to ask what their criteria is they get defensive and won’t tell me. I just want to know so I don’t waste my time filling out applications. They act like I’m asking for top-secret information.”

There are two reasons why listing your rental criteria on rental applications is important.

1 - It saves both you and the prospective tenant time. If they know they don’t fit the criteria they’ll move on to the next apartment listing. You will have less applications to sort through and a higher percentage of them will be viable for tenancy.

2 - It is to your advantage to have a list of criteria, stick with it, and not keep it a secret as it keeps your head above legal waters. Later, if someone tries to state that you discriminated against them during the application process, you can pull out your form and calmly state which criteria they didn’t fit and that you have used this list for all of your tenants. You can even show that the information was right there for them to see on the application. Catastrophe averted.

When writing up your list of criteria, be sure to abide by Fair Housing laws.

Providing rental criteria is useful for both you and renters looking for a new residence. Smart Housing recommends that you use the twenty minutes it will take to write your own qualifications and include it with your application forms.