Avoiding Legal Headaches: How Proper Tenant Screening Can Protect Landlords in Nashville, TN

Avoiding Legal Headaches: How Proper Tenant Screening Can Protect Landlords in Nashville, TN

Housing costs are on the rise. As rent becomes more of a stretch for tenants, it poses a risk to landlords. It means you are more likely to face issues with tenants, including late payments or unpaid rent.

That's why tenant screening has never been so important. If you are a landlord in Nashville, TN, read on to learn why proper tenant screening can help protect your investment and how to get it right.

Why Tenant Screening Is Essential

Tenant screening is there to help safeguard your property. It's an essential step in the rental process. It will lower your risk of experiencing several landlord problems, including:

  • Late rent payment
  • Missing rent payments
  • Property damage
  • Breaking the terms of the lease

Checking Nashville tenants before you sign a lease will ensure you hand over your property keys to someone trustworthy.

That makes sense because a property is a sizeable investment, and you want to ensure it's in safe hands. Plus, it will make your experience as a landlord less stressful.

Understanding Tenant Screening Laws

You'll need to know state laws when running a tenant screening program. In Nashville, TN, the Fair Housing Laws cover landlord activities like tenant vetting.

The most important aspect of this law is that your screening process must be non-discriminatory. You cannot discriminate on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

It's essential to read all the rules in addition to non-discrimination laws to help you avoid potential lawsuits.

Processing a Tenant Application

Good tenant applications put the screening process at the start. So when a tenant applies, ask them to provide the relevant details for the vetting, including:

  • Personal details
  • Their rental and residential history
  • Employment
  • Evidence of income
  • References
  • Convictions and criminal history
  • Financial obligations and reporting any bankruptcy

Check your application form and ensure it doesn't violate any laws. You may want to seek professional advice before you finalize it.

Running Background Checks

You must take a responsible and fair approach to running background checks. If you check their financial history, ensure you do this consistently for all applications.

Note your steps so you have an audit trail. And check the law to ensure you aren't violating any privacy rights. If you decline an applicant, be transparent about why.

Warning Signs In Applications

When reviewing applications for your rental property, you should know how to spot the signs of red flags in a tenant's application. Red flags indicate someone who is a high-risk tenant. That includes:

  • Lack of employment history or long employment gaps
  • Lack of rental history
  • Frequent moves and short periods at an address
  • Inconsistent information when running a background check
  • Reluctance to provide background details

One flag isn't necessarily a problem. For example, a young person moving away from home for the first time may lack a rental history. However, multiple flags require careful attention.

Tenant Screening in Nashville, TN

Don't take unnecessary risks with your investment property. It is worth running a comprehensive tenant screening to help you secure a reliable renter who will pay on time and look after your property.

PMI Music City has tenant screening services for landlords in Nashville - you can find out more here.