Phoenix is a popular city to live in and many people who live there are renting. It may seem easy to find good tenants, but far too many landlords in Phoenix with rental properties get burned every year with the bad ones. Landlords that pay attention to tenant screening can ensure that they find only the best applicants. Of course, like most cities, Phoenix tenant screening laws are designed to protect both landlords and applicants.
Learn more about the Phoenix tenant screening process:
- All about Phoenix tenant screening laws
- Lots of free landlord resources
- More about the screening processes
- Locating the best tenant screening services
Tenant Screening Phoenix Laws
Phoenix tenant screening laws are all part of federal and state laws, with municipal laws added to them. Often Phoenix laws are even more focused than the others, so landlords may need to brush up on the city regulations, even if they think they are up to speed.
Phoenix tenant screening laws include:
- No limits on application fees collected by landlords
- Application fees are not refundable
- Application fees are separate from security deposits
Phoenix tenant screening laws deserve to be studied, because when landlords don’t follow the best practices for getting good applicants, they are doomed to have bad tenants and lose both time and money.
Never Make This Common Screening Mistake
When Phoenix landlords become limited in their ability to perform background checks it can often be completely their fault. Unless they get a signature of consent from the applicant, they won’t be allowed to perform a background check on the adults on the application. Without a signature from the applicant, landlords in Phoenix or anywhere else cannot run a background check. Landlords should check that their application material does indeed have a place to sign. If not, they should make changes right away.
This is an example using the application forms from RentPrep:
Top arrow: Nonrefundable application fee information.
Bottom arrow: Signature line for applicants to provide consent on a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Phoenix
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 Phoenix Landlord/Tenant Program – Detailed information on renting property in Phoenix
*Landlords across the city should follow a no blank space policy, where they deny any application that isn’t completely filled out. Any application with a blank space for an answer is set aside and taken out of consideration. This leaves the most thoroughly answered applications left for consideration.
Phoenix Tenant Screening Process
Do you have a tenant screening criteria list for applications yet? If not, you ought to put some thought into it right away and create one. There’s no easier and more consistent way to sort through applications than with a Phoenix tenant screening criteria list.
Basically, to create a list, landlords need to come up with a set of factors they’d like to see in their ideal tenant. Then, they create a written list. The conditions should be specific enough to help sort applications but not so stringent that they exclude everyone.
Here’s a good example of a Phoenix tenant screening criteria list:
- No prior evictions
- Income to rent ration must be no less than 3:1
- No smoking
- Pets limited to dogs only under 12 lbs.
- No violent criminal history
- Credit score above 600
- No bankruptcies
Once they’ve made a list, landlords will compare each application and keep the ones that are the closest match. It helps you stay fair and consistent as you review each one.
It’s never OK to participate in any kind of tenant screening discrimination. There are very strict anti-discrimination laws in Phoenix and denying someone of a protected class from housing can mean big trouble for landlords. For any questions about federal, state or city housing discrimination, look at this Phoenix website and also at the hud.gov website.
Phoenix tenant screening laws include:
- There’s no limits on how much landlords can charge as application fees, which is the same as the state of Arizona.
- Phoenix has additional protected classes–more than the state–that include sexual orientation and gender expression.
- Landlords can legally deny applications that don’t meet their criteria as long as they are not discriminating.
There’s also this detailed website that helps Phoenix landlords stay informed on all kinds of rental issues in their city.
Check Out Your Arizona 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 “Arizona Tenant Screening Process.”
Finding the Right Tenant Screening Services
After Phoenix landlords have gone through every application and found the best two or three applicants, they’ll need to find a tenant screening service to run a background check. There’s no doubt that getting a thorough background check is the best way to identify which applicant will make the best tenant.
The tenant screening company should provide info on:
- Previous addresses
- Judgments and liens
Before any final decision is made, landlords in Phoenix really need to partner with a tenant screening service. Having good tenants in place is the key to having a successful real estate business.
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.