Collective apartment association tenant screening is a new technique that some associations are using to manage the flow of tenants into their buildings and neighborhood. Here is how it works:
- All building owners agree to collective tenant screening. Occasionally, the association may require this via a covenants or rules change.
- When you have a vacancy, you notify the association. You still do all the showings and advertising yourself, but when you get a prospective tenant that is interested in your property, this is where things changes compared the typical screening process.
- The prospective tenant fills out an application. That application is actually sent to either the association management company for the credit, criminal, and housing checks or you do it yourself.
- If you wish to rent to this tenant, that application is then reviewed by an association board that looks at the application to see if the tenant meets the neighborhood standards.
- The board votes if they will allow you to rent to this tenant.
A slick part of this process is that the association keeps a running list of all tenants that have ever lived in the property. This prevents bad tenants from moving from one building to the next in same neighborhood, which can often happen because the neighboring landlords were not talking or comparing notes. Additionally, this association group can do a better job of seeing through the tenant application falsehoods.
I have seen this problem frequently, where Jane gets evicted from 1500 Main Street for lease violations such as criminal activity or bad behavior. Interestingly, Suzie applies for and gets accepted on an apartment at 1520 Main Street, but does not disclose that Jane will be living with her (basically moving the problem down the block). While this process may not work everywhere, apartment association tenant screening can be very effective where there are consistent tenant problems. It can also have a big impact where the density of housing units makes one problem tenant frustrating for all the residents.