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Screening Tenants For Low Income Housing

Screening tenants for low income housing is similar to screening any other rental applicant. However, depending on the guidelines for your given state, your local housing authority may play a role in referring and screening low income applicants. Regardless of the income and the responsibilities that you have in the screening process, it is important to conduct a thorough examination of all potential tenants. You can screen tenants for low income housing by doing background checks, asking for prior renting and income history, and doing in-person interviews.

Background checks for low income housing

Low income housing owners should begin the rental process by contacting the local housing authority. The housing authority will let you know what duties you must uphold. Whether you or the housing authority are conducting the screening, you must make sure that your applicants pass the necessary background and credit checks for low income housing.

These checks are simple to perform and help to protect your property. Tenants who have criminal records, have been evicted from prior residences, or have a history of not paying their rent are more likely to cause issues.

You must ask permission before running background checks. Once you have been granted permission, you can run a credit report with the three main credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Credit reports include details pertaining to bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, unlawful detainer lawsuits, and any other relevant public record events. You will also receive a credit score. Ideally the score should be above 700, but it is up to you to determine an acceptable rating for your property.

Prior renting and income history for low income housing

Potential tenants will provide information about their current and prior landlords and current employer. If an applicant is hesitant to share these details, they could be trying to hide something from you. Be sure to call past or present landlords to inquire about the tenant’s rental history. Prior landlords will be able to tell you if the tenant paid rent on time and if they caused any issues that you should be aware of. You should then talk to the tenant’s employer to confirm their income. The general guideline for renting is that a tenant should spend a maximum of 30% of their monthly income on rent. It may seem unfair to set rent that high for low income tenants, but this ensures that you will get your rent consistently.

In-person interviews for low income housing

Once you have an applicant who meets your qualifications on paper, sit down with them in person. If possible, offer a tour of the available unit. Holding a meeting is a great opportunity to talk about pet ownership, general living habits, and any other family members who may be sharing the unit. Remember that you can’t ask about race, sex, gender, religion, family status, national origin, or disabilities. Ultimately, you want to rent your low income housing to people that you can trust.

Screening tenants may seem like more hassle than the process is worth. When you are sitting with empty units, it can be tempting to rent to the first people who apply. Screening tenants for low income housing does take time and effort. However, the process pays off when you get good tenants who pay the rent on time and comply with the lease.

Hope Housing Foundation (HOPE) is centered around acquiring and preserving existing affordable housing communities to provide stability to their residents. We strive to make high quality yet reasonably priced housing available to low to moderate individuals, couples, families, and seniors. HOPE also places a high priority on initiatives that enhance the lives of our residents and their communities. We’re involved in many resident services, community development programs, and educational scholarship programs. To learn more or to Partner With Us, Contact Us by email or give us a call at (214) 842-8075.

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