Oklahoma tenant screening is a step that landlords who dream of success should not skip. When done thoroughly, tenant screening can help landlords avoid bad tenants and focus in on those that will take care of the property and pay on time.
Landlords in cities like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman and Edmond are definitely going to want to pay attention to the unique laws and regulations that this state has for tenant screening.
Topics of interest include:
- Oklahoma tenant screening laws
- Tenant screening process overview
- Free resources and helpful links for Oklahoma landlords
- Choosing a tenant screening service
Oklahoma Tenant Screening Laws
Oklahoma tenant screening laws slightly differ from many other states so landlords there can’t really count on a universal approach. It’s important for Oklahoma landlords to comply with the laws of the land when it comes to tenant screening
Here are just a few details on Oklahoma tenant screening laws:
- There is no maximum limit on the amount that landlords can charge for an application fee.
- Oklahoma landlords collect the application fee when the paperwork is turned in.
- Application fees in Oklahoma are non-refundable, even if the application is denied.
- Oklahoma law does not limit how much of a security deposit landlords can charge.
Application fees are separate from security deposits and they are collected at different times. Landlords need to know the details about the laws in the state to be successful.
Learn more about Oklahoma landlord/tenant laws here.
Don’t Make This Screening Mistake
Landlords in Oklahoma may believe they can do a background check on anyone that turns in an application for rental. However, unless the paperwork includes one important thing, they can’t do so. Landlords need to have a signed consent form from the applicant before they can run a background check.
A signature line granting consent is the only way landlords can get permission to screen applicants. If their current papers don’t include it, they should amend it as soon as possible.
As an example, here is what the RentPrep forms look like:
The top arrow shows applicants that the application fee is not refundable, so they understand the process up front.
The bottom arrow shows applicants where to sign to give consent to a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Oklahoma
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
- Oklahoma Landlord/Tenant Handbook – Oklahoma rental property guide book
- Oklahoma Legislature Landlord/Tenant Statutes and Codes – Official landlord/tenant laws for Oklahoma
*Do what many successful landlords have done and use a no blank space policy. On applications, they don’t process any that have a blank space for an answer. Sometimes applicants want to avoid an investigation into some parts of their history by leaving blanks. A no blank space policy can sort out those applicants from better ones.
Oklahoma Tenant Screening Process
Oklahoma landlords need to come up with a list of screening criteria so they can easily sort through the many applications they get. The list should be created before the vacancy and written down for each time the landlord needs to review applications.
Here are just a few of the more common applicant features on a tenant screening list:
- Credit score
- Pet restrictions
- Income to rent ratio
- Smoking ban
- Any criminal history
- Past eviction history
Of course, Oklahoma landlords should not include any features on the tenant screening list that discriminate. To review the protected classes, check out hud.gov.
Oklahoma landlords should never be inconsistent when applying the tenant screening standards. Too much fluctuation can look like discrimination, even if it isnt. Landlords can avoid a discrimination lawsuit by creating a list and sticking to it every time.
Along with the tenant screening criteria list, Oklahoma landlords should remember:
- They can charge whatever the market will bear for application fees
- Oklahoma law says that application fees are not refundable.
- Every landlord in the state should be consistent with their screening criteria
Learn more about Oklahoma tenant screening criteria here.
Find Your Perfect Renter
Finding the right tenant can be a headache if you don’t know what you’re doing.
That is why we’ve created a tenant screening guide for you to find the perfect renter.
Check out our free tenant screening guide and learn how to find the perfect renter.
Tenant Screening Questions Answered
Tenant screening can be a pretty dry subject.
That’s why we try our best to make our tenant screening course more fun.
You can follow Laura as she shares tips and advice throughout the tenant screening process.
Locating the Best Screening Service
Oklahoma landlords should now have at least two or three applications that stand above the rest. Now it’s time to find a tenant screening service to run an in-depth background check.
Make sure the screening service looks at:
- Address history
Landlords definitely need to avoid renting to an applicant that they haven’t run a background check on. Real facts will always beat out a gut feeling or lucky guess when it comes to information on future tenants.
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.