Legal Considerations When Selecting Prospective Tenants



For property owners selecting a tenant, due diligence is a must and we cannot emphasize enough the importance of covering all of your bases in the application process. This includes personal references, employment references and tenant history.


This topic was broached by founding attorney Daniel Bornstein in this video.



The law Daniel Bornstein references in the video is Assembly Bill (AB) 2819, which will impact a landlord’s ability to obtain an applicant’s prior unlawful detainer (UD) history. You can glean more analysis of the bill here, but what to get from 40,000 feet is this: since a prospective tenant may have an eviction action that is masked (unviewable in many cases from the would-be landlord), extra care is required in the tenant selection process. Since the landlord can be blinded to a troubled eviction history that is sealed, it makes it more important than ever to know who you are renting to, before you hand over the keys.


This is not time to rely on your “gut feel”. You can conduct a credit check, reach out to past landlords and even ask the tenant for proof of payment to a previous landlord or mortgage company.


Although credit score, income, rental history and employment are relatively easy to evaluate, considering a prospective tenant’s criminal background in your tenant selection is not so straightforward and can cause allegations of discrimination by a rental applicant. The U.S. Department of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) has provided some guidance in terms of the use of criminal background checks in rental housing, but we reserved this weighty topic in this post as part of an ongoing series.

As the founding attorney of Bornstein Law, Broker of Record for Bay Property Group and expert witness, Daniel Bornstein is a foremost and well-respected expert in landlord-tenant disputes and other property management issues with over 23 years of experience in handling real estate and civil litigation related disputes.

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