Phil Querin Q&A: Landlord's Rejection Of Application For Tenancy

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June 26, 2014

Question: Please tell me what I must do when I reject a prospective tenant’s application to move into our community.

Answer: The applicable statute is ORS 90.304. In summary, it provides as follows:

1. If you require an applicant to pay a screening charge and the application is denied (or if the applicant makes a written request following your denial of an application) you must promptly provide the applicant with a written statement of one or more reasons for the denial.

2. Your statement of reasons for denial may consist of a form with one or more reasons checked off. MHCO has such a form. The reasons for rejection under the statute include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Rental information, including:

o Negative or insufficient reports from references or other sources;
o An unacceptable or insufficient rental history, such as the lack of a reference from a prior landlord;
o A prior eviction action for possession under ORS 105.105 to ORS 105. 168 that resulted in a general judgment of restitution in the landlord’s favor; and
o The inability to verify information regarding a rental history.

• Criminal records, including:

o An unacceptable criminal history;
o The inability to verify information regarding criminal history.

• Financial information, including:

o Insufficient income;
o Negative information provided by a consumer credit reporting agency; and
o Inability to verify information regarding credit history.

• Failure to meet other written screening or admission criteria in your lease or rental agreement. (See Footnote 1)

• The dwelling unit has already been rented.

3. If you fail to comply with these provisions, the applicant may recover from you $100.

Footnote 1: The MHCO Lease (MHCO Form 5B) and Rental (MHCO Form 5A) forms list the screening criteria which a landlord may impose when the resident is seeking to sell their home to an applicant who wants to become a resident in the community. They are the following: (a) unsatisfactory rental references; (b) the absence of any prior tenant history or credit history; (c) unsatisfactory credit history; (d) unsatisfactory character references; (e) any criminal history; (f) insufficient income to reasonably meet the monthly rental and other expense obligations under this Agreement; (g) presence of pets or the number, type or size of pets; (h) if the Community is an age 55+ or 62+ Community, reasonable evidence verifying that at least one occupant is age 55 or 62, or over, as the case may be; (i) evidence that the prospective tenant has provided LANDLORD with falsified or materially misleading information on any material items; (j) if the prospective tenant refuses to sign a new written rental or lease agreement; (k) the number of additional occupants; or, (1) adverse information contained in the public record.