How To Screen Tenant Applicants In Florida
Selecting quality tenants is the critical factor in running a profitable residential rental housing business in Florida. And the only practical way, for a landlord to find the mature, conscientious, civilized and financially responsible adults, that are needed to be successful, is by screening out undesirable applicants, who have a track record for being deadbeats, troublemakers and career criminals. So, unless you’re the type of landlord, who somehow enjoys going through the nightmarish experience, of having to deal with a full-fledged tenant from hell, you need to thoroughly screen tenant applicants, so you’re able to weed out the local riff-raff, before they move into your rental property, and make your life, a living hell-on-earth!
Base Tenant Qualification Standards on Legitimate Business Reasons
You must establish tenant qualification standards, which are based on legitimate business reasons, and apply them uniformly, when evaluating tenant applicants, to ensure that only the best-qualified applicants are selected. At a minimum, you should require that all tenant applicants, meet the following ten tenant qualification standards:
1. Complete and Sign a Rental Application: All tenant applicants, must legibly and truthfully complete and sign, a rental application.
2. Complete and Sign a Personal Information Release Form: All tenant applicants must legibly and truthfully complete and sign, a personal information release form, which authorizes the landlord or the landlord's agent, to obtain personal information about the applicant’s credit, criminal, rental and employment history.
3. Pay a Nonrefundable Cash Rental Application Fee: All tenant applicants must pay, a cash nonrefundable rental application fee, of $30 for single applicants, and $60 for married applicants and couples, to pay the cost of having their rental application processed.
4. Be Eighteen Years of Age: All tenant applicants must be eighteen years of age. In Florida, the legal age of consent, to enter into binding written agreements, is eighteen. If you enter into a rental agreement with a minor, under the legal age of eighteen, the agreement will be unenforceable in court.
5. Provide Valid Personal Photo Identification: All tenant applicants must have a valid form of personal photo identification, such as a Florida Driver License, Florida identification card, United States Department of Defense identification card or United States Passport.
6. Be a Legal Resident of the United States: All tenant applicants must be legal residents of the United States. Don’t rent to tenant applicants, who can’t provide verifiable proof, that they're legal residents of the United States.
7. Have a Good Credit History: All tenant applicants must be creditworthy, and have no charged-off accounts, accounts placed for collection, late payment accounts, or bankruptcy, within the past twelve months.
8. Have no Convictions for Crimes Involving Violence, Theft or Sex: All tenant applicants must have no convictions, for crimes involving violence, theft or sex.
9. Have a Good Rental History: All tenant applicants must have a good rental history, with no evictions, or judgment liens for past-due rent.
10. Have a Verifiable Source of Income: All tenant applicants must have a verifiable source of income, equal to three times their monthly rental rate.
In chapter fifteen of The Florida Landlord's Manual, you learn how to check, verify and evaluate, a tenant applicant’s credit, background, rental history and income, so you don't end up renting to one of the proverbial tenants from hell.