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Screening Tenants

October 30, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

For some landlords, finding quality tenants can be problematic. However, it is important for landlords to follow the requirements of both New Jersey and New York landlord tenant law and federal law with respect to tenant screening. There are a number of options available for landlords to be able to make a determination as to whether a prospective tenant may pose a problem during the lease term.

Many landlords choose to use third-party vendors to handle their screening process, particularly with respect to checking potential tenants' credit reports and other financial information. While it is true that credit scores can be a good indication of a person's ability to make timely rent payments, there are many other aspects of a person's rental history that should be taken into consideration.

Other Information Landlords Need to Know

Besides a potential tenant's credit score, a landlord will also want to look into the individual's eviction history. Having this information could prove to be priceless to a landlord when he or she is trying to avoid problem tenants. It is also crucial for a landlord to look at an individual's criminal history, just in case there are issues on the report that may be of concern.

Be Careful

To be sure, it is imperative landlords screen their tenants, but it is just as important for them to do so in a way that complies with both state and federal law. Landlords must make certain their screening practices are not discriminatory in nature. Any landlord who is unsure whether or not they are engaged in an illegal form of discrimination is encouraged to contact a well-versed attorney who can advise him or her on the law. Landlords may screen their prospective tenants’ criminal history in addition to their rental and credit histories. Be advised, however, that while landlords may deny an application for a criminal conviction, it may not do so in New Jersey or New York if the conviction was for drug use.

Landlords should also keep in mind that if a potential tenant has a common name, they might receive faulty results from searches. That said, landlords should take extra precautions to ensure the information obtained from a tenant is, in fact, true and accurate information pertaining to that individual.

Seek Legal Counsel from Griffin Alexander, P.C.

If you are a landlord who has concerns about the screening process used when finding possible tenants and you would like to find out how New Jersey or New York landlord tenant law might affect your ability to do so, contact Griffin Alexander, P.C. as soon as possible for more information. Together we can review pertinent information and develop a plan for you to effectively screen possible tenants. 

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