How to Handle Tenant Screening in 2022


How to Handle Tenant Screening in 2022

Tenant screening was created as a solution for rental properties to use consistent, reliable information to determine whether they should approve or deny applicants. The old school methods relied on factors that were inconsistent, potentially discriminatory and didn’t provide a level playing field for renters to have a fair opportunity to be approved for a home. Tenant screening solved many of these issues by looking at the same factors, such as credit reports and criminal histories, to review all applicants using the same criteria and provide an equal method of finding qualified tenants.

Unfortunately, there are some who view tenant screening as a problem that prevents people from having a fair chance to find a rental home, and they’ve been waging a war to end the practice. CIC has been a reliable provider of tenant screening for nearly 4 decades, and has been on the frontlines advocating on behalf of the needs of the rental housing industry. Some battles have been won and some were lost, but the need to find tenants that can be trusted to pay on time while keeping the property and community safe is more important than ever.

Is Tenant Screening Still Possible in 2022?

Yes, and it’s still incredibly helpful in providing fair housing opportunities to all applicants. CIC has been through waves of new legislation forcing changes to how they provide tenant screening, and they’ve been on forefront of developing new methods for access to reliable tenant screening reports. How do they do this?

Safe Access to Criminal Records

Among the most challenging arguments for tenant screening is the use of criminal records, and their impact on preventing applicants from access to safe housing. When used incorrectly this can be a fair argument, but tenant screening providers have the power to deliver this information in a way that’s safe to use for rental properties.

A significant complaint about criminal records is that they aren’t accurate. Some of the most common reasons for this is that there’s no national database of records with consistent practices, and poor policy-making over the years has created a combination of inconsistencies and a lack of available information needed to provide maximum possible accuracy.

To achieve higher accuracy, CIC has developed a unique system for helping clients remain compliant. The Regulatory Matrix is a free tool that uses the rental property’s zip code to search for any local laws affecting what data can be used in the decision. By including the zip code each applicant’s tenant screening report is updated by the time it’s delivered so that it includes information that’s safe and accurate.

Reliable Eviction Histories

Continuing the theme of whether public records can be used and trusted in tenant screening, eviction records are becoming more difficult for properties to review. The arguments about their accuracy are similar to criminal records in that each court reports differently, and the information used to search records can be limited in some jurisdictions. 

Fortunately, CIC has spent nearly 3 decades developing their unique eviction database with a focus on being reliable, accurate and robust. Evictions are considered public records so many of the solutions created to improve the accuracy of criminal records are applied to eviction reports. This includes the use of the property zip code to update reports based on local laws with CIC’s Regulatory Matrix.

What that Means for Rental Properties like Yours

You know better than anyone that the regulations placed on rental properties within Southern California are aggressive compared to other states. Unfortunately, the same can be said about tenant screening regulations. In order to protect your rental property investments and safely screen applicants, the Southern California Apartment Association has partnered with CIC. As our new tenant screening provider, CIC has a long history of adapting to changing regulations quickly and are the only screening providers to have a legal filter to protect landlords and housing professionals like you.

While the road ahead might be just as bumpy as prior years, SCRHA is committed to advocating for your right to rent your properties and recommending vendors who are dedicated helping you succeed.

Learn More about CIC’s Tenant Screening