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Are You A Property Management Company? Use Written Rental Applications To Avoid Liability

As a property management company, you have to ensure that your property gets good tenants. They have to be able to pay rent on time. They also need to have a history of good behavior, something that guarantees that they won't damage your property or be a danger to other tenants. This is why the screening process is a must if you want to avoid the stress that usually comes with managing rental properties.

However, while screening helps you avoid the headaches of having bad tenants, it can come with headaches of its own. When not conducted properly, the screening process can put you at risk of getting sued for discrimination. A rejected tenant can simply claim that they were rejected because of their gender, skin color, disability or religion. The good news is that you can protect yourself from such suits by simply requiring written rental applications.

Written rental applications to ensure consistency

You can get into trouble when you are inconsistent at applying tenant selection rules. For example, asking a potential tenant for their credit history and forgetting to ask the next one can seem like discrimination. This is even in cases where one has simply forgotten about it.

Using a standard rental application form is an easy way to avoid these mistakes. Giving the same form to all the tenants to fill out and having the form specify the documentation that should accompany the application is an easy way to ensure that you treat everyone equally. This makes it an effective technique of keeping yourself from creating the wrong impression.

Written rental applications as evidence of fairness

It is hard to defend against claims of discrimination if you don't have a written evidence. This is important in cases where you have to demonstrate fairness.

With everything in writing, it is easy to demonstrate that other tenants had qualities such as better credit history, unimpeachable behavioral history and sufficient income to comfortably take care of their rent. Choosing one tenant over another based on these factors is reasonable and legal. It helps limit business risk and you cannot be found liable. Therefore, if you have written proof that other tenants were less risky than the aggrieved party, it is easy to mount a winning defense.

As a manager of real estate, it is important to ensure that you are careful when conducting the screening process. You have to not only be impartial, but also avoid the appearance of partiality. Having standard written applications is an easy way of ensuring this. To find out more, speak with someone like Vandeventer Black LLP.