Arlington is a thriving Texas city with plenty to offer its residents when it comes to jobs, recreation and culture. Any landlords with property in Arlington are in a good position to keep units filled with great tenants. The best way to find these tenants is by following the Arlington tenant screening process. Since the steps to tenant screening are so thorough and compliant with the law, landlords will definitely want to abide by them to ensure they find the best applicants.
In this post, Arlington landlords can learn about:
- Arlington tenant screening laws
- Free landlord resources
- Overview of application screening process
- Find the best tenant screening services
Tenant Screening Arlington Laws
The reason that laws and regulations are put into place in Arlington concerning tenant screening is to ensure that the entire application process is both fair and legal. Arlington landlords could face some serious legal trouble if they fail to comply with the proper procedure.
These are a few of the Arlington tenant screening laws:
- The city puts no limits on the amount landlords in Arlington can charge for application fees.
- Like many other cities, Arlington supports non-refundable application fees.
- Security deposits and application fees are separate financial transactions in the city.
The Arlington tenant screening process is the best way to figure out which applicants will be the best tenants. Landlords that want to run a successful real estate business should pay attention to every law that affects them.
Avoid This Common Screening Mistake
Once the landlord has the application, they may think they are on their way to doing a background check on the applicant. However, this is where most Arlington landlords make one of the most common screening mistakes. Landlords can’t run a background check without the written consent of the applicant. In other words, an applicant must provide a signature in order for landlords to run a background check on them. If the landlord doesn’t have this in the current application, they should amend it or find a new application form.
This RentPrep form is a good example:
See how the top red arrow shows the non-refundable application fee notice, while the bottom arrow reveals the signature line so the landlord can run a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Arlington
RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.
- 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. (make sure this editable doc is compliant with your state laws)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA – Our screeners here at RentPrep are FCRA certified to ensure compliance on your screening report
- City of Arlington Code Compliance – Lots of information for landlords and tenants
*Many Arlington landlords implement a no blank space policy when reviewing applications. This means that if an applicant has not answered a question on the application, or left a blank space, the application is denied for lack of information.
Arlington Tenant Screening Process
A tenant screening criteria list is a smart and consistent way for landlords to sort through applications to see whether or not they meet their requirements. All it takes is for the landlord to create a list of characteristics they most want to see in a new tenant. If an application meets the minimum standards, it goes to the next level.
Here’s an example of an Arlington tenant screening list:
- No bankruptcies
- Proof of renters insurance
- No evictions
- Two small dogs under 10 lbs each or one dog under 20 lbs allowed
- Income to rent ratio at least 2:1
- No smoking
- Credit score of at least 580
- No violent criminal history
There are certain classes of people protected by federal and state laws. Some landlords don’t realize that cities can also enact housing anti-discrimination laws that may be more strict. Landlords in Arlington definitely need to know about protected classes for their city. Arlington fair housing laws are discussed here and they can visit the hud.gov website for federal standards.
Arlington tenant screening laws include:
- No limit to what landlords may charge in application fees.
- A tenant screening list lets landlords deny applications that don’t measure up.
- Arlington landlords cannot discriminate against protected classes.
It’s easy to avoid bad applicants when Arlington landlords follow the city’s tenant screening laws.
Check Out Your Texas Screening Guide
In many cases cities have their own screening rules and regulations while the state has another set of rules that govern the screening process.
Click here to go to our post on the “Texas Tenant Screening Process.”
Find the Best Tenant Screening Services
Too many landlords make the mistake of trying to do a background check themselves. However, that’s never going to be as good as a background check done by a professional tenant screening service. There are several excellent tenant screening services out there that charge a reasonable fee.
A good background report should include
- Past evictions
- Any bankruptcies
- Judgments or liens
- Previous addresses
Landlords should never offer to signing a lease without seeing the results of a professional background check report.
At RentPrep, we have experience 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 will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.