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A Landlord’s Guide To Utah Tenant Screening (2023)

If you’re a real estate investor trying to capitalize on your property equity, renting out to tenants is one of the best ways to do this. 

According to recent data, 30% of Utah housing situations were rentals. This presents a significant renters market that you can explore to grow your streams of income. 

However, one of the most important obligations you have is avoiding bad tenants. This starts with thorough screenings and background checks.  

Let these points help you out when you want to get the most from your Utah tenant screening process and need to understand the law. 

The Importance of Utah Tenant Screening

Before you can have a positive landlord tenant relationship, you need to first find quality tenants who are honest and able to afford the rental. You might also choose to weed out people with red flags, such as bankruptcies, criminal convictions, and evictions. 

Running a tenant background check in Utah is one of the best ways to find out these details. You will protect your investment and will avoid the costly eviction process and other headaches that can post setbacks.  

Utah Tenant Screening Laws

If you’re going to invest in tenant screening services, you need to first and foremost understand Utah landlord-tenant law. You’ll be able to get background information legally and can avoid lawsuits and infringing upon peoples’ rights. 

Consider these legal parameters to make sure you’re acting prudently: 

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that landlords aren’t able to discriminate against prospective renters based on gender, race, nationality, disability, or religion. These rights are outlined by federal law under the Fair Housing Act. 

Utah law adds some other parameters, which don’t allow you to discriminate based on income source, sexuality, and gender identification. Getting a handle on this aspect of Utah tenant screening laws is crucial and will help you avoid costly mistakes.   

There Are No Limits on Fees

Landlords have the right to charge any fees they need for background checks, based on Utah tenant screening laws. There are currently no laws on these fees that limit them, nor are there any laws that place a limit on the security deposit that you are able to charge. 

Utah law says that any fees that you charge during the application process are non-refundable. They are also considered separate from the deposit that you charge. 

In addition to hiring tenant screening services in Utah, use your discretion when deciding what sort of fees to charge your applicants.  

Understand the Fair Credit Reporting Act

When you’re getting ready to rent out a property in Utah, make sure that you’re also considering the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under this act, only the landlord is allowed to access a person’s private financial information secured by credit bureaus and reporting agencies. 

They are also only able to use it in conjunction with the purpose of vetting the application. You have an obligation to protect people’s information so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The act also says that you are obligated to notify people when any sort of adverse action is taken when using this information. 

For example, a credit card or loan company must let people know when they are denied based on information pulled from credit reports or other histories. They must outline which specific parts of the report led to the decision, and what recourse the consumer has. 

You Can Check Criminal History 

According to Utah law, you’re also allowed to check peoples’ criminal backgrounds when deciding whether or not to offer them tenancy. You’re allowed to use databases that contain information on arrests, convictions, and other court records. 

Based on law, landlords are advised to follow guidelines presented by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when using criminal history information. HUD issues guidelines to only use the information to deny people whose criminal history appears to still pose a threat to safety or property. 

Handle each issue on a case-by-case basis to make sure that you are following these guidelines while still using your discretion.  

How to Get the Most From Tenant Screening

Never hesitate to get professional tenant screening services to keep your properties occupied. To get the most out of your Utah tenant screening take the time to first and foremost understand the law. 

Schedule a consultation with a legal professional or Utah tenant screening professional that can break these tenants down for you. They will let you know the basics of Utah landlord-tenant law and how they can help. 

Hire a professional screening service that leaves no stone unturned when helping you vet tenants. Doing this legwork on the front end will then help you foster an excellent landlord tenant relationship. 

When you weed out bad tenants you’re able to conduct good business. Use these services, follow Utah laws, and stay ahead of the curve with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Housing Act, and HUD recommendations.  

Prevent Housing Bad Tenants

Working with Utah tenant screening services will help you get the most out of your real estate investments. Do your due diligence with your real estate investments by using the information above. 

Mac Data can assist you whenever you’re a real estate investor trying to avoid bad tenants and keep your properties filled. We’d love to hear from you and are happy to answer any questions that you have. Take the time to contact us online or call us at 386-254-4888.