Written Criteria For Applicants — Written By Marcia Gohman, Head Of The National Tenant Network (ntn)


Good afternoon,
I don’t want to be a Grinch, especially so close to Christmas, but I’ve just heard about another landlord who is in trouble because they didn’t have written criteria and the applicants are very annoyed to be denied.

You are required by law, in both Oregon and Washington, to have written criteria. This criteria should inform the applicant about the requirements needed to be accepted for the property. It should also inform them about things that could result in a denial.

Your criteria should have details about rent to income standards, credit standing, verification of employment and rental history and criminal history.

Yes, you need to have written criteria even if you are not charging a screening fee. Otherwise you leave yourself open to disputes that could be costly.

It’s one piece of paper that should be included with every application, and one which will save you a lot of headaches!

I suggest you have the applicant initial or sign the criteria sheet to signify that they have read it before completing an application.

*Any Rental Owner’s Association should have one you can purchase. Don’t write your own; you could get yourself in trouble.

If you need help finding a good Criteria Sheet, please call or email me and I’ll be happy to direct you.

Now I’m going to try to get rid of this angry green tinge I’ve got, and get back to my holiday happiness.

Grrrrrrrrrrr! I mean, Merry Christmas!

Marcia Gohman
NTN – Northwest
503-635-1118 or 888-989-1686

*PLEAE NOTE: WLA has a Tenant Criteria Sheet that landlords can use. It is located under FORMS>Tenant Screening Forms. The PDF is titled: 2. Notice to Applicant for Tenancy Sample. You will need your 4-digit passcode to access the FORMS page. 

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