Last Updated on
Did you know that West Virginia tenant screening can help you find the most qualified applicants out there to rent your property? Without tenant screening, you’re just dependent on your instincts alone to find good applicants to trust with your investment.
Landlords in West Virginia cities like Charleston, Morgantown, Huntington and Beckley have the opportunity to educate themselves about the ins and outs of tenant screening, like:
- WV Tenant screening laws
- Screening process overview
- Free resources for landlords
- Locating tenant screening services
West Virginia Tenant Screening Laws
Every state has its own unique tenant screening laws, and West Virginia is no different. Landlords need to know everything they can to make sure they are compliant and that they are protecting themselves and their investments.
Here are just a few facts about West Virginia tenant screening laws:
- When it comes to application fees, the state doesn’t limit how much landlords can charge
- The laws of West Virginia also don’t place a limit on what landlords charge for security deposits
- All application fees are non-refundable in West Virginia
- Application fees are separate from a security deposit
West Virginia landlords need to study up on the laws of the state and then make sure they apply them to their business practices.
Landlords can check out this helpful state guide here.
Avoid This Common Screening Mistake
Far too many West Virginia landlords make a huge mistake in gathering applications for a vacancy. Without a signature from the applicant that gives consent, landlords cannot run a background check. In other words, every rental application needs to have a place for the applicant to sign. Without a signature, a West Virginia landlord won’t be able to find out important details about the applicant.
If a landlord’s rental application doesn’t already ask for a signature they should make changes to the document immediately. Before the next vacancy, West Virginia landlords should use a new and improved application.
This is the application from RentPrep’s documents:
The upper red arrow indicates information about the application fee being non-refundable. The lower red arrow indicates where applicants should sign to give their consent for a background check.
Resources for West Virginia Tenant Screening:
We’ve gathered some of the best forms and resources to help landlords like you find the best possible tenant for your rental.
- Rental Application PDF – Have every prospective tenant fill out this rental application.*
- Move-In Move-Out checklist – This is helpful for after the tenant screening process to make sure you document the condition of the rental
- Rental Lease Agreement – Once you’ve decided on a tenant you’ll want to draw up a lease. (make sure this editable doc is compliant with your state laws)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA – Our screeners here at RentPrep are FCRA certified to ensure compliance on your screening report
- Tenant Screening 101 – This is one of the most thorough guides on the web for tenant screening
- West Virginia Landlord/Tenant Handbook – The go-to guide for the state’s landlord/tenant issues
- West Virginia Legislature’s Code and Statutes – All the West Virginia landlord-tenant laws
*Make sorting applications easier by implementing a no blank space policy. Any application that is submitted with blanks instead of real answers gets discarded. Of course, the reason is that when people refuse to provide information for background checks, they usually have something to hide. A no blank space policy helps landlords sort out the completed applicants from the ones that aren’t forthcoming about their history.
West Virginia Tenant Screening Process
Successful landlords usually have a tenant screening criteria list they’ve compiled to help them sort out applications from interested people. A tenant screening criteria list reveals the type of tenant that the landlord wants to rent to. However, the criteria should be broad enough to include a range of applicants but maintain high enough standards to narrow things down.
Here’s an example of a typical screening criteria list:
- One small pet allowed with extra deposit
- No prior evictions
- Minimum credit score at 620
- No smoking
- Income to rent ratio is 2:1
- No criminal history
- No prior evictions
Landlords compare their list with the available applications and select the ones that are closest to their ideal. Of course, landlords should never include criteria in their list that would discriminate against protected classes. Learn more about housing discrimination at the hud.gov website.
Landlords need to combine their knowledge of federal housing laws and West Virginia tenant screening laws:
- No limits on application fee amounts.
- Application fees are collected when the completed application is turned in.
- West Virginia application fees are not refundable, even if the application is denied.
- Application fees are always separate from the security deposit.
- Landlords need a signature of consent to perform a background check.
Landlords can always reference this landlord/tenant guide here.
Find Your Perfect Renter
Finding the right tenant can be a headache if you don’t know what you’re doing.
That is why we’ve created a tenant screening guide for you to find the perfect renter.
Check out our free tenant screening guide and learn how to find the perfect renter.
Finding the Best Tenant Screening Service
After narrowing things down to a few promising applications, it’s time for landlords to locate a good tenant screening service. There are all kinds of companies out there that make promises of thorough background checks, but many don’t deliver on it. The best tenant screening services provide landlords with reasonably fast service for a moderate fee.
The best tenant screening services include:
- Past evictions
- Previous addresses
When landlords receive the reports on each applicant, they have what they need to pick the best one. Tenant screening services help landlords sort out the high-risk applicants from the ones that show the most promise.
At RentPrep, we know what it takes to succeed, because we’ve worked with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Of course, our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.
Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.