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Background screening and informing the tenant

Nov 11, 2011 Matt Roesly

Renting out space is a great way to earn additional money. On average, renting out their space gives New Yorkers $21,000 per year, Collaborative Consumption explains. Considering accepting a tenant is similar to interviewing an applicant for a job, and following a few rules can ensure a tenant's property is secure, well-maintained and a reliable source of income.  One of the first things a tenant should do is conduct a background screening of a potential renter. The last thing a landlord needs is a tenant with a proclivity for devious behavior as these renters tend to be unreliable in the long run. Choosing an abiding citizen with a clean history creates a more attractive atmosphere for the landowner's renting space. Certain local laws may prohibit what information is allowed to be used when screening a tenant. For instance, a lawsuit complaining of practices implemented by the New York court system may incite a change in legislation for landlords judging tenants based on credit reports. According to Reuters, tenant screening companies and credit reporting agencies purchase consumer information and place certain individuals on a tenant blacklist. In essence, this informs the landlord or property owner of a consumer's credit history, to which they would reject the applicant if they had poor credit and then search for another with a better credit history. While this may increase the likelihood of accepting a reliable tenant with a consistent source of income, it may be illegal in certain states. Laws vary from state to state, but in general a landlord must comply with housing codes. Any issues with the building should be addressed immediately. Making repairs and regularly cleaning areas, such as the lobby, elevator and hallways, is required. If a tenant has an injury or is exposed to hazardous materials on the property as a result of the landlord's negligence, the landlord is completely liable. If a renter comes to a property and sees it's in pristine condition, they may be more likely to keep it that way when the lease is up. Rules should be laid out to the tenants before they sign the lease. Informing them of trash day, building policies and other restrictions keeps the building operating in an orderly fashion. Tenants should especially respect neighbors in regards to noise levels. Multiple noise complaints of a specific tenant should result in a fine or eviction.