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A Guide for Screening Rental Applicants

Happy Couple Receiving the Keys to their New Rental Property

How to Screen Rental Applicants in Massachusetts, What You Can’t Do or Ask

 It is a great responsibility on the shoulders of landlord to select the right tenants so that they can avoid legal problems in the future. There are many questions that landlords should ask from their tenants to know about their past before they make the final decision. Furthermore, you also need to take care that there are certain questions as well that you are not allowed to ask regarding religion, race, arrest record, and more. These are big no questions for the landlord.

 Moreover, if you are looking to get guidance in understanding the laws and regulations regarding screening of tenants, then you should contact a skilled company like Real Property Management Associates and avail the reliable services of property management on Weymouth.

Some important information that you need to inquire as a Landlord during screening rental applicants is listed below:

  • Will the tenants pay rent on time?
  • Will they keep the apartment in good condition?
  • Will they be a good neighbor?

 These are some important aspects that landlord needs to be assured before renting out their property. The Massachusetts tenant screening laws and regulations are different as compared to other states. In the following blog, we will be looking at the points that a landlord should know about tenant screening services of rental applicants in Massachusetts.

 Some areas that you need to know are listed below:

 Learn all the Massachusetts tenant screening laws

  • The place to find free resources for the landlord
  • The complete procedure of the screening applicants
  • Locating the best tenants screening services

 Tenant Screening Law for Massachusetts

 Every state law is a little bit different from other states. You can contact a professional property management company to know about the laws of the state. The landlord should know about all the laws and regulations to get rid of legal trouble and select the right tenants for their property.

 For instance, you should know about the Massachusetts tenants screening laws as listed below:

 As a landlord, you should keep a separate bank account to keep the security deposit funds.

  • From August 2014, landlords are not allowed to get any application fee from applicants.
  • Security deposits are refundable.
  • The security deposit should not be more than one month’s rent.

Avoid Common Screening Mistakes

When you are planning to start the procedure of finding the applicant, then you should avoid the following mistakes:

  • You should get a signed consent form that permits the landlord for a background check. If you are not having signed a consent form, then Massachusetts tenants screening law will not permit you to run a background check.


  • A landlord should check the rental application to see that is there any request for applicant request? If not, then you should amend the application because it is essential to do a background check.

 Resources for Massachusetts Tenant Screening

 A landlord should have the following tools to locate the fine tenants:

 Rental Application PDF: Every prospective tenant will fill the rental application.

 Move-in and Move-out Checklist: This tenant screening checklist is helpful after the tenant screening process to ensure you document the condition of rental property.

 Summary of Right under FCRA: This requires FCRA certified to make sure that compliance on your screening report.

State of Massachusetts Legislature’s Landlord/Tenants Statutes and Codes: This is Massachusetts laws for a landlord.

 Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Handbook: All important documents on laws for landlords and tenants.

 Tenant Screening Process for Massachusetts

 Every rental property should have a screening criteria list attach to it. If you have not written yet, then start writing it down. Some examples of the possible screening standards are:

  • Smoking is allowed.
  • No pets.
  • No prior arrest.
  • No evictions in the past.
  • Income to rent ratio should be at least two times of the monthly rent.

Questions/Comments to be avoided by Landlord

 Following are some questions or comments that landlords are not allowed to ask or to do with tenants:

 You will love the areas as lot of minorities live here.

  • Are you Hispanic or white?
  • There are not many temples here so I have no idea either you will fit in or not?
  • I don’t feel safe to rent out the first floor to a woman.
  • I don’t allow animals in the property so your pet can’t stay here.
  • Are you disabled?
  • What’s your first language?
  • Where your parents were born?
  • Are you pregnant? I don’t want that other tenants to get disturbed due to baby.
  • In which school do your kids go?
  • Do you go to church in the neighborhood?
  • Were you arrested?

 Personal Questions to Avoid

Some of the personal questions that a landlord should avoid asking from their tenants are listed below:

Question about marital status?

  • Are you divorced?
  • What’s your age?
  • You will have to pay high-security deposit because your income is coming from unemployment benefits and due to this, I may evict you in the future.

 This was a piece of detailed information about the landlord that he should keep in mind when doing a screening of tenants. Being a landlord, you should take it seriously to avoid legal problems. Furthermore, if you are looking to get assistance (laws, regulations, and property management) then you can contact our experienced property managers. You can call us at (508) 509-4485.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.