Before conducting a pre-tenancy screening, as a landlord, you must have the prospective tenant sign an authorization. You can use the latest technological tool developed by CORPIQ: propriolocation.com which allows you to complete a rental application online and which includes this authorization to conduct a screening. It is also recommended that you require an amount of money not exceeding the investigation fees as a deposit.
Once the investigation is completed, what happens to this amount?
CORPIQ states in its rental application form:
A deposit of $__ to cover the screeing fee has been given and will be retained by the landlord only if I (prospective tenant) refuse to sign a lease after being informed that my application is accepted or if false information has been entered. The landlord reserves the right to claim for any other damages incurred should I refuse to sign a lease.
As indicated on this form, once the pre-rental screening is completed, when an applicant is accepted or rejected, the landlord must return the money given as a deposit to the prospective tenant. The latter is not aware of your selection criteria and cannot be presented with a “fait accompli” of refusal and therefore lose the amount pledged for the screening. On the other hand, an accepted candidate who refuses to sign the lease will lose his deposit.
It is therefore suggested that you ask for a deposit covering the costs of the investigation in order to avoid withdrawals or false declarations by the candidates. This could allow you to avoid an unnecessary expense for applicants who apply for several units at the same time. Finally, the deposit demonstrates the seriousness and motivation of the applicant to really want to rent the unit.