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Common Tenant Questions


Written by SJA Property Management

SJA offers premier Seattle property management services and serves as the local real estate industry’s most experienced resource for rental property owners.

If you’re new to the business of renting property in Sammamish, then there are a couple of things you might be confused about. For example, how much say do you have in choosing tenants for your property?

Many new Sammamish landlords aren’t aware of what the law has to say about why they can or can not deny a tenancy application.

Here are a few of the basic rules you need to learn if you do not have a professional Sammamish property management company.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Many beginning landlords are under the impression that they cannot reject a tenant unless they don’t have the money. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are more than 20 reasons that you can legally reject a tenant in the state of Washington. For example:

    • Unsatisfactory references
    • The person smokes
    • The person has a pet (not a legal reason for service animals)
    • The person is unable to provide income or government housing aid to pay for the unit
    • The person is a felon
    • Someone has sued the person for money
    • The applicant has never rented before
    • The applicant has been evicted or damaged a rental property before
    • The person provides false information
    • Prior landlords speak poorly of the person
    • The person has been with their current job for less than 6-12 months
    • The person moves frequently

Choosing a Tenant

While you don’t have to agree to the first tenant who comes your way, you do have to choose a tenant. The best way to do this is to interview several tenants, review their income and references, and then choose the one with the most reliable income and the best tenant history. Other factors, such as whether they smoke, have pets, and their civil history affect the application process as well, but the two most important legal factors to consider are the income and tenant history. Other than that, smoking and pets are a personal decision, as are felons, anyone with a civil lawsuit against them, and people with unsatisfactory references. You should judge these cases fairly and attempt to make an honest decision. How much you like or do not like the person, religious concerns, marital status, and children are not legal considerations.

Terms of the Lease

If you do not want tenants with any of the above specifications, then it is imperative that you write it up in the terms of the lease, or you cannot deny tenants because of it. Make sure that your leasing contract is written up in advance, and that the tenants get a copy of it before you tell them that you are turning them down for any of those reasons. Use written criteria such as “No pets or smokers allowed” in your advertisements to clearly outline what is and is not acceptable.

Need help screening your tenants? Contact SJA today to find out what we can do for you as your professional Sammamish property management company.

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