In our opinion, the best policy for screening potential rental tenants is first come, first served – a policy which the City of Seattle just imposed on landlords. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.
However, our policy is that if multiple applications are received at approximately the same time, i.e., no application has been submitted for screening, then the following can be taken into consideration in choosing one application over another:
– Move in date
– Rent offered
– Length of lease offered
– Whether the applicant has pets
If tenants meet screening criteria we do not try to determine if one applicant is more qualified than another – either the applicant is qualified or the applicant is not.
We have been told by an attorney involved in the drafting of the law that landlords will still be able to choose between applicants based on these specific factors, as long as the landlord communicates this prior to accepting applications.
The process of selecting tenants is becoming more complicated, with greater potential liability, even outside of the Seattle City limits.
We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!
There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.