Like many Central California cities, Fresno is bustling with activity. It is attracting people month after month, and many of them are looking for rental properties to call home. Any Fresno landlord should have plenty of applicants for any vacancy they have, but how can they sort out the best from the rest? When they comply with the Fresno tenant screening process, they are in a great position to find excellent tenants.
In this post, landlords will understand more on:
- Fresno tenant screening laws
- Free landlord resources
- Overview of application screening process
- Find the best tenant screening services
Tenant Screening Fresno Laws
In metro areas, there are often additional regulations and laws concerning rental properties that go beyond state and federal laws. Fresno tenant screening laws are designed to protect the rights of both landlords and applicants, so everyone needs to be in compliance.
These are just some of Fresno’s tenant screening laws:
- Fresno follows the state law about limiting application fees to a set rate each year, and landlords must find out the new cost annually from the state.
- Landlords can only charge the amount of the background check and not more.
- In Fresno, security deposits and application fees are separate financial transactions.
Fresno landlords can’t ignore the rules and regulations regarding tenant screening laws in their city or they could face legal trouble.
Avoid This Common Screening Mistake
If Fresno landlords are likely to make a screening mistake it’s that they neglect to get consent from the applicant to run a background check. In order to run a full background check on an applicant, Fresno landlords must collect each applicant’s signature. They should make adjustments to the application form so there is a place for a signature.
This RentPrep form is a good example:
See how the top arrow highlights that there is a non-refundable application fee. The bottom arrow shows where the applicant must sign for the landlord to run a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in Fresno
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
- Fresno Housing Authority – Lots of information for landlords and tenants
*More Fresno landlords are enacting a no blank space policy for their applications. This is where they deny any application that doesn’t completely answer all the questions, or leaves them blank. It’s not possible to do a thorough background check with blanks instead of information.
Fresno Tenant Screening Process
Fresno landlords should create a tenant screening criteria list in order to go through applications fairly and consistently. All they need to do is write up a list of features they most want to see in a tenant. Then, they can compare an application to the list and decide if it meets the minimum standards. Landlords in Fresno need to keep the list realistic to the type of property is for rent and the features of typical renters that would be a good match
Here’s an example of a Fresno tenant screening list:
- No smoking
- No evictions
- One dog under 35 lbs allowed with current vaccination records
- Any bankruptcies older than 7 years allowed
- Income to rent ratio at least 3:1
- No violent criminal history
Under no circumstances can landlords in Fresno discriminate against protected classes. There are several different groups of people that are protected under state, federal and municipal laws. Landlords need to know that it is illegal to discriminate against them in applications and rentals. Learn more about fair housing laws in Fresno here and visit the hud.gov website for federal standards.
Landlords need to remember that Fresno’s tenant screening laws include:
- The state sets an annual limit on how much landlords can charge for application fees.
- A tenant screening list is acceptable and landlords can deny applications that don’t meet the criteria.
- Housing discrimination is illegal in Fresno and in California, so landlords should avoid it at all costs.
Fresno landlords will get the best applicants by following the city’s tenant screening laws.
Check Out Your California 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 “California Tenant Screening Process.”
Find the Best Tenant Screening Services
There’s no better way to do a background check than to use a professional tenant screening service. Landlords in Fresno know that it’s smart to turn the task over to professionals. These businesses should charge a modest fee and in return they provide landlords with comprehensive background reports.
A detailed report should include:
- Past evictions
- Any bankruptcies
- All judgments or liens
- Previous addresses
Fresno landlords can make their ultimate decision on who to sign a lease with when they can review the background check. There’s no substitute for a real background check done by a good tenant screening service.
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.