7 Best Screening Practices to Minimize Risk

best screening practices


Are you thinking about ways to minimize risk during the resident screening process? Here are the best screening practices for multifamily operators and leasing professionals:

1. Don’t leave anything to chance
You set the standard for who lives in your community, not fate. Accomplish this by setting rental criteria that matches your unique business priorities.

2. Reduce subjective decision-making at the community level
Use automatic approvals based on your company’s rental criteria to simplify the move-in process and reduce individual decision-making, thereby reducing fair housing violation risk. Reserve manual approvals for borderline applicants and restrict the ability to perform them to authorized users.

3. Know your applicant
Identity verification should be part of the screening process to reduce mixed files and costly re-screenings due to incorrect applicant information.

4. Separate criteria for applicants and guarantors
Bad applicants should not be buried under exceptional guarantors. After all, the guarantor isn’t the one who’ll be living in your community.

5. Have your provider work with disgruntled applicants
What happens when an applicant has an issue with his rental report? Pick a screening company that is willing to speak with applicants who dispute information on their rental reports. This allows you to approve more applicants that would have otherwise been turned away due to incorrect credit report data.

6. Tailor your criteria to meet specific needs of each property
One size doesn’t fit all. Screening criteria should be suited to the unique needs of each community in your portfolio. Tailor your criteria to meet market conditions at the individual community level or across regions.

7. Set considerations for unique credit scenarios
In light of the economic recession, you may want to make special considerations for applicants that have otherwise sterling credit, such as those marred only by a mortgage in default or past foreclosure.

Keep reading to learn about risk mitigation through screening and renters insurance.


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Philip Christian is an author and content marketer in the San Francisco Bay Area who writes about the apartment business. He has contributed stories for Units, Student Housing Business and Multihousing News.

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