Arizona tenant screening is a topic that landlords should know all about. That’s because in the Grand Canyon State, the laws are set up to protect both tenants and landlords.
Today’s post introduces Arizona landlords to several important topics related to tenant screening, to ensure that the best landlords and the best tenants connect to do business.
- Arizona tenant screening laws
- Free resources for Arizona landlords
- Comprehensive view of a typical screening process
- Finding the right tenant screening service
Arizona Tenant Screening Laws
In Arizona, tenant screening laws determine all kinds of things, from fees to procedures. Arizona landlords are definitely going to do a better job in choosing wonderful tenants when they know the law.
Arizona tenant screening laws include:
- Landlords are allowed to charge an application fee, payable when the person turns in their completed application
- Arizona puts no limit on what landlords can charge for an application fee
- Application fees in Arizona are non-refundable
An application fee is never considered a part of the security deposit, which is paid after the landlord selects an applicant and offers them a lease. If a landlord wants to refund the application fee for any reason, however, they can do that.
For more detail on laws involved with Arizona tenant screening, click here.
A Screening Mistake Too Many Landlords Make
Landlords who don’t know any better think they can just run a background check on anyone. However, if you don’t have a signed consent form from the applicant, you can’t do it and you won’t find out whether or not the applicant has been a good tenant.
Right now, check to see whether your rental application has a section requesting signed consent from the applicant. If not, make the changes before your next vacancy.
For example, here’s how we treat it on the forms we use here at RentPrep.
Top red arrow: Notice that the application fee is non-refundable, so applicants are not confused about whether they get it back.
Bottom red arrow: Space for the applicant to sign, which gives consent to run a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Arizona:
Arizona landlords really will benefit from these free forms and resources. At RentPrep, we want to help you find the best possible tenant for your rental.
- Rental Application PDF – Have every prospective tenant fill out this rental application.*
- Move-In Move-Out checklist – This is helpful for after the tenant screening process to make sure you document the condition of the rental
- Rental Lease Agreement – Once you’ve decided on a tenant you’ll want to draw up a lease. This editable doc is a good starting place.
- Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA – Our screeners here at RentPrep are FCRA certified to ensure compliance on your screening report
- Arizona Landlord Tenant Guide – From the Arizona state government
- Arizona Legislature Statues and Codes for Landlords and Tenants – All the laws revolving around landlords and tenants in the state of Arizona
*A no blank space policy means that you don’t accept any applications that are not completely filled out. It usually screens out applicants with a questionable history because they don’t like filling in that information on an application.
Arizona Tenant Screening Process
Landlords have an idea of the kind of tenant they want in their property, but if they don’t write down a list of screening criteria, they could end up picking a bad tenant by relying on their gut instead of info.
Typical screening criteria could include:
- No smoking
- Only dogs up to 10 lbs allowed
- No water beds
- Income has to exceed three times the monthly rent
- No criminal conviction
- No past evictions
Don’t allow your criteria, marketing, or screening process to ever discriminate against one of the protected classes. You can learn all about this at hud.gov.
Using the same screening criteria list will protect you from a lawsuit if ever a denied applicant tries to claim you were discriminating against them.
That’s why it’s important to be consistent whenever you are screening tenants. If you make changes to the criteria between each vacancy, it looks like and may be discrimination. Then, you could get into big legal trouble.
The Arizona tenant screening process will help landlords like you separate the bad news applicants from the ones that will make good tenants.
- The application fee can be whatever you want, and most landlords ask for enough to cover the cost of the service
- Arizona law only allows landlords to charge up to 1 and 1/2 months rent for the security deposit.
- The application fee is not refundable, meaning it is separate from other fees and goes to the landlord.
You’ll learn more about the process when you read this Arizona landlord/tenant guide.
How to Screen Tenants
This post covers some of the specifics of tenant screening without going too far into the weeds.
If you’d like to learn the specific system used by thousands of landlords you’ll need to check out our tenant screening tutorial.
The guide will show you every step to get the best possible tenant in your rental.
Choosing the Best Screening Service
After following all these steps, you should have a handful of applicants that you want to do a background check for.
As you look for a screening service, make sure the company includes the following items:
- Eviction history
- Bankruptcy search
- Judgements and liens
- Prior address history
Let the screening service do the hard work of digging up each applicant’s past so you can make the right decision. Trusting your gut is only going to lead to a headache.
We will happily serve you and other Arizona landlords, because at RentPrepk, we’ve worked with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years.
Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.
Our FCRA certified screeners do the best work of providing the best tenant screening report available.