The city of New Orleans, nicknamed The Crescent City, is the top tourist spot in Louisiana, but it is also a thriving economic center that many people call home. Landlords with rental property in New Orleans will do well to learn all about the New Orleans tenant screening laws and regulations so they can fill their units with the best renters round.
In this post, New Orleans landlords can learn all about:
- New Orleans tenant screening laws
- Where to find free resources for landlords
- Understand the tenant screening process
- Find the best tenant screening services
Tenant Screening New Orleans Laws
Tenant screening laws in New Orleans help regulate the business relationships between landlords and applicants both legal and fair. These regulations come from a number of sources, such as the federal, state and municipal levels. New Orleans tenant screening laws are a key part of business success for landlords and their failure to understand and act on them can introduce big problems.
New Orleans tenant screening laws may include:
- There are no limits on how much landlords can charge for application fees.
- Every application fee is not refundable.
- The application fees are first and separate from the security deposit.
New Orleans tenant screening laws can be found here.
Avoid This Common Screening Mistake
With New Orleans tenant screening, landlords first need to collect applications so they can have enough basic information on an applicant to run a background check. Without the right features on the application form, however, their efforts will fall short. A New Orleans landlord can’t run a background check on an applicant without a signature of consent. Changes to the current application form should be made right away if it doesn’t have this all-important signature line.
Here’s how it looks on a RentPrep form:
Notice how the top red arrow is where information about the non-refundable application fee appears. The bottom red arrow is the location of the signature line, where applicants give consent to a background check.
Resources for Tenant Screening in New Orleans
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. This editable doc is a good starting place.
- Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA – Our screeners here at RentPrep are FCRA certified to ensure compliance on your screening report
- Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center – All about fair housing throughout the city
*Incorporating a no blank space policy has helped many landlords deal with incomplete applications. This means that if an application is turned in without some of the answers filled in, the landlord denies it for further processing. It’s impossible to run a full background check without actual answers about an applicant’s past and present. The application will be automatically rejected.
New Orleans Tenant Screening Process
Many New Orleans landlords also put into place a tenant screening criteria list to help them stay consistent while reviewing applications. The key to a good tenant screening criteria list is keeping standards up while also remaining realistic. On the list, landlords write down the minimum standards their ideal tenant should have. Then the landlords compare the application to the list. When the information meets or exceeds the list’s standards, the process continues.
Here’s an example of a New Orleans tenant screening criteria list:
- No evictions
- Proof of current renter’s insurance
- No smoking
- Credit score above 580
- Income to rent ratio: at least 2:1
- No violent criminal history
- One pet (dog or cat) with current vaccination records
- No bankruptcies
New Orleans landlords can include lots of criteria, but they must never discriminate against protected classes as established by federal, state and municipal laws. Many landlords are familiar with a few protected classes, but they need to know all of them. Often, the city laws are even more strict than the federal or state level. To learn more about New Orleans fair housing, check out this website. Landlords can reference federal housing discrimination issues at the hud.gov website.
Here’s a recap of New Orleans tenant screening laws:
- There is no limit on the amount landlords may charge for application fees.
- Landlords need to know all about protected classes to avoid discrimination during the application process.
- Applications that don’t meet the landlord’s personal screening criteria can legally be denied.
New Orleans landlords will find the best tenants when they comply with the city’s tenant screening process, and this website is an excellent resource.
Check Out Your Louisiana 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 “Louisiana Tenant Screening Process.”
Finding a Great Tenant Screening Service
The final step in the New Orleans tenant screening process is to locate a great tenant screening service. When landlords have professionals run a background check, they are sure to get every detail so they can make a decision. Landlords should not offer a lease agreement until they have seen the in-depth background report on an applicant.
For a modest fee, New Orleans landlords can get a report that shows:
- All past addresses
- Judgments and liens
Landlords can then offer a lease once they feel the professionally done background check has revealed all it can about the applicant. Many landlords agree that the New Orleans tenant screening process is certainly the best way for landlords to find the best tenants in the city.
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.