Sitting on the border of two states, this Missouri city is famous for its jazz culture, unique barbecue and fun things to see and do. Kansas City landlords are fortunate to own rental property here, because it is always in high demand. Every landlord’s goal is to find and identify those applicants that will be the best tenants. When landlords follow the Kansas City tenant screening laws, they are going to have a much better chance.
After reading this post, landlords will know about:
- Kansas City tenant screening laws
- Free landlord resources
- Application screening process
- The best tenant screening services
Tenant Screening Kansas City Laws
Kansas City tenant screening laws, along with state and federal laws, regulate how landlords and tenants conduct themselves with each other. Many metro cities have lots of rental properties, so they frequently enact strict laws on how things should operate. They are there to protect both landlords and tenants.
Here are just a few of Kansas City’s tenant screening laws:
- The city and state put no limits on how much landlords charge for application fees.
- All application fees in Kansas City are not refundable.
- Security deposits are separate from application fees.
Kansas City landlords want to succeed in their real estate business and they have the best chance if they follow the city’s tenant screening laws.
Common Screening Mistake Landlords Make
Kansas City landlords often make one common screening mistake that jeopardizes the whole process. The mistake is that they fail to collect all the info they need to run a background check. Unless a Kansas City landlord collects an applicant’s signature of consent, they won’t be able to do a background check. If their existing application doesn’t have a signature line, it should be changed immediately before their next vacancy.
Here’s a RentPrep form with this example:
The top arrow points to to the info about non-refundable application fees. The bottom arrow points to where applicants need to sign to give consent to a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Kansas City
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
- KC Metro Housing – Comprehensive site on renting in the Kansas City metro area
*Some landlords haven’t heard about a no blank space policy for applications. It allows landlords to stop processing any applications that are not completely filled out. If a question is not answered, or left with a blank space, they are automatically denied. In order to run a thorough background check, every question needs an answer.
Kansas City Tenant Screening Process
Many Kansas City landlords use a tenant screening criteria list to help them sort out the applications. They create a written list that reveals exactly what they want in a tenant. While landlords should definitely be a little selective with the criteria, they should also be realistic. If they are too specific, they won’t find anyone qualified to rent their property.
Here’s an example of a Kansas City tenant screening list:
- Zero prior evictions
- No smoking
- Single dog under 25 lbs is OK with vaccination record
- Income to rent ratio at least 2:1
- No criminal history
- Credit score above 600
- No bankruptcies
Landlords in Kansas City can include any variations or additional features they want to see in their ideal tenant. Then they compare the application to the list. If the application meets the minimum, it can move to the next step in the process. Of course, landlords in Kansas City can never discriminate against protected classes. To find out more about fair housing laws in Kansas City, click here, and go to the hud.gov website for federal standards.
Remember that the Kansas City tenant screening laws include:
- Landlords are not restricted to how much they can charge for application fees.
- An application that doesn’t meet a landlord’s tenant screening criteria list can be denied.
- Kansas City landlords cannot discriminate against protected classes.
When Kansas City landlords comply with all the tenant screening laws, they have a much better chance of finding the best applicants.
Check Out Your Missouri 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 “Missouri Tenant Screening Process.”
A Tenant Screening Guide Worth Reading
There are two types of landlords.
The first is one that complains about their tenants and all the drama they create.
The second landlord learns from these situations and understands that a proper tenant screening process will fix most issues.
What About Tenant Screening Services?
The final step is to locate a professional tenant screening service to perform the background check. For a modest cost, landlords should look for a service that provides an excellent report.
A great tenant screening reports should include information on:
- Prior evictions
- Judgments or liens
- Address history
When Kansas City landlords have the background check in hand, they can really see what kind of tenant and applicant has been in the past. This can help them make their decision about whether or not to offer a lease.
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.