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A Landlord's Guide to Florida Tenant Screening Laws

A Landlord's Guide to Florida Tenant Screening Laws

Can you believe that Florida's incarceration rate is a whopping 795 out of every 100,000 people?

This is one reason you should be cautious about who you let into your rental properties. Renting out properties in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, can be profitable for landlords.

However, it's crucial for landlords to understand tenant screening laws. That way, you can guarantee compliance and protect yourself from potential legal troubles.

Florida has specific regulations in place for rental applications and tenant background checks. Keep reading so you can become aware of these laws.

Start With Rental Applications

One of the first steps landlords should take when screening potential tenants is to collect rental applications. These applications often involve basic information. You can expect to gather the following:

  • The applicant's name
  • Contact details
  • Employment history
  • Rental history

By using rental applications, landlords can acquire the necessary information and assess the suitability of potential tenants.

Background Checks Come Next

Once rental applications are received, landlords can conduct tenant background checks. Florida tenant screening laws permit landlords to perform these checks. However, they must follow specific guidelines.

Landlords can request information about an applicant's criminal history, credit history, and eviction records.

Are you wondering what the background check laws in Florida are? You must get written consent from the potential tenant before starting any background investigation. This consent should be obtained through a separate form.

Be sure to explain the purpose and scope of the background check clearly.

Be Mindful of Tenant Rights

Tenant rights play a crucial role in the tenant screening process. While landlords have the right to conduct background checks, tenants also have certain rights that landlords mustn't breach.

Landlords must treat all applicants equally and fairly. You should discriminate based on any of these factors:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status
  • Disability

Violating these fair housing laws can lead to severe legal consequences for landlords.

Denial Often Requires a Written Notice

Florida law also requires landlords to provide applicants with written notices if their rental application is denied due to the background check's information.

These notices should include the name and contact information of the background screening company. Don't forget to provide an explanation of the denial. This transparency ensures that tenants have the opportunity to dispute any inaccurate information.

Remember that it's crucial to stay updated and familiarize oneself with the specific laws of Florida. Ignorance of these laws is never a permissible defense if a landlord faces legal action.

Are You Ready to Conduct a Thorough Tenant Screening?

Now that you know about Florida's tenant screening laws make sure you cross your Ts and dot your Is.

There are many moving parts to keep track of with your rental property. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you should take advantage of our comprehensive services. We handle tenant screening, marketing, rental collection, and more.

Feel free to try out our vacancy loss calculator and start from there.