One very important benefit that a professional property manager can provide is tenant screening. Being that I have been working in the property management industry for over 20 years, I have had several landlords who have come to me for help after trying to self-manage their homes with nightmare tenants. They were at wit’s end and didn’t know what to do. Many of them never screened their tenants prior to placing them in the property or collected a security deposit prior to their move-in. They were left helpless and in need of direction.

One of the most important things that must be done prior to placing a tenant in a rental property is to screen the applicant. A prospective tenant should first complete a rental application providing personal information, which includes rental/landlord information, employment information, and their social security number (which is needed to run credit and is necessary if they need to be turned over to collections at any point in time). Once the rental application is received, a criminal background check should also be completed, along with their credit and credit score. They should make at least 2-3 x’s the amount of the rent. Checking rental history by reaching out to current and past landlords will help to ensure that the rent was paid on time, and there were no issues, damages, or complaints.

As a Realtor/Property Manager, it is our job to ensure that Fair Housing laws and state tenant screening laws are being followed. Therefore, we educate the Landlords on

these laws. Nevada tenant screening laws include:

  • There is no maximum limit that landlords can charge for application fees
  • Nevada landlords cannot collect more than three month’s rent as a security deposit
  • The application fees in Nevada are
    non-refundable
  • Fees may be collected at the time when applicants provide a completed application to the landlord
  • Landlords can’t have a background check done unless the applicant has provided a signed consent form.

A typical tenant screening list includes:

  • Any pet restrictions
  • A credit score minimum
  • Smoking preferences
  • Income to debt ratio
  • Criminal history
  • Past bankruptcies
  • Previous evictions

The protected classes listed in the Fair Housing Act are:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion 4. Sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
  4. National Origin/Ethnic Background
  5. Gender
  6. Familial Status
  7. Mental/Physical Disability

Landlords in Nevada and across the country should be very careful not to discriminate against protected classes. Being consistent with the tenant screening criteria list is the only way to stay out of trouble and avoid a discrimination claim.