Just like when you’re dealing with criminal records, creating a strict ‘no evictions’ policy can legally bite you in the butt down the line. Keep in mind that evictions can happen for a myriad of reasons, some of which aren’t good indicators of whether an applicant would be a good resident. If you’re able to ask your appli- cants if they’ve been evicted on your rental application (consult a lawyer beforehand), add some space for the applicant to explain why they were evicted. This can reveal a lot about the applicant and help guide your decision. For example, consider the following: NO. 1 Timing Timing can be a huge factor when looking at eviction records. Years in which an applicant was affected by a major recession or a natural disaster like a hurricane or wildfire can greatly influence an eviction and reflect very little about how trustworthy or financially stable the

or two given it meets certain criteria, five or six is almost certainly a big red flag. While you’re considering your applicant’s eviction judgments and filings, it’s important to remember why you’re factoring eviction records (if you resident screening service provides it) into your leasing pro - cess in the first place. Do you use eviction records to gauge financial responsibility? Does it help you find trust-worthy residents? Under- standing the reasons why you even consider eviction records can guide you in your process of reevaluating your written rental standards and provide judgments and filings with some objective weight. •

applicant is currently. NO. 2 Time Between Judgment Most evictions are monetary evic- tions, meaning the applicant couldn’t pay their rent. Although this could be a result of a loss of employment or a failed business venture, it can be dif- ficult to feel comfortable renting to someone with a prior monetary evic- tion judgment. When reviewing an applicant with this kind of judgment, look at the length of time between now and judgment and their proof of employment (pay stubs or bank statements). If the applicant hasn’t had another eviction for the past four or five years, and looks financially sound, it might be an indicator that the applicant is back on their feet. NO. 3 Number of Eviction Judgments In combination of the factors above, you’ll want to incorporate the applicant’s total number of evictions into your written rental policy. While you might be comfortable with one

Becky Bower is a marketer and writer who appears often in the monthly news magazine, Residential Resource, provided to members of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®). To join or learn more, visit

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