Screening Prospective Tenants

Owners who advertise their rental units in the open market often find tenants with Section 8 rental assistance will apply. However, an excellent way to reach Section 8 applicants is to list vacancies with OHA’s free rental listing, Home Connection​. Call Leased Housing at (510) 587-2100 to list today. 

Owners renting through the program retain all normal ownership privileges and perform regular management duties such as screening and selecting tenants. Tenant screening is one of the most important responsibilities of a property owner because properly screening tenants is the best security against problems during the tenancy. 

Tips for Screening Applicants 
OHA recommends that owners conduct a thorough screening before selecting any tenant. Property owners are required by law to use the same screening criteria for all applicants. 
  • Take time to interview the applicant and review their application.
  • Verify all the information on the application.
  • Check the credit of all adult members and inquire about negative items.
  • Use a reputable credit reporting service that includes an eviction search.
  • Request references from several previous landlords - not just the last.
  • Consider using a Tenant Selection Checklist to be sure the screening is thorough and all tenants are screened uniformly.

FAIR HOUSING: Fair housing laws govern how owners select both assisted and unassisted tenants. It is important for owners to educate themselves and their representatives about these laws so they can properly comply with them. It is also a good practice to have written selection criteria and to keep documentation of what was done in the screening process.