Rental Services, Inc. August Newsletter

Dear Valued Client,
The August Rental Services, Inc. News Letter is focused on legal changes in Colorado and the formation of a group in Oregon to provide the first unified voice for landlords and property managers.
Our secondary article will discuss ways to get information on prospective renters back faster when you order a background check.
Finally, we will discuss a few best practices when conducting a background check.

Legal Issues
On August 6, 2018 Denver City Council passed bill 18-0788 that makes it illegal for a property owner or manager to refuse to rent to an applicant based on their income source. Specifically addressing Housing Choice Vouchers/Section 8. The legislation will go into effect at the beginning of 2019.
The bill was passed to help increase diversity and integration across the city and address the city of Denver’s affordable housing crises. The Council believes that treating all forms of income as equal will increase the housing choices for those who use housing vouchers.
If a renter believes they have been discriminated against they can file a complaint. Violations will be investigated by Denver Human Rights and Community Partnerships. If a property owner or manager is found guilty of violating the law, they could receive a $5,000 fine.
The City of Boulder Colorado has proposed a similar bill that covers source of income and immigration status. RSI will keep you posted on any updates we receive about this bill.
Several rental housing groups in Oregon have come together to form a non-profit lobbying organization called More Housing Now! The groups purpose is to address how City government has made it prohibitively complicated to build more rental housing during an affordable housing crisis. They will address how activist groups have manipulated Portland City Hall and the Oregon State Legislature.  More Housing Now! believes these groups influence has created threats to property owners and managers, developers and their vendors. RSI expects to see more groups across the country combining resources to address common threats in the future.
Rental Services, Inc. recommends taking an active role in local government to protect your business interests. With the changes in Denver, RSI recommends reassessing your rental criteria to make sure you will comply with the new law in 2019.

Quicker Service
Do you fax or email applications directly to RSI? You could be getting your applications processed faster by using the RSI website. Each day RSI receives hundreds of applications via fax and email. The applications that we receive are sorted and given to a processor to enter the application information into the RSI system. If an application doesn’t include an account name or code and level of service, the application is handed out to be researched. The data entry on a busy day can take several hours and additional time is needed if we must research the account name and level of service.
This can all be avoided by using the RSI website. Once you’re logged in to the RSI website you will select “Order”. All you need to do is type in the applicant’s name, date of birth, social security number and address. If you requested the Full Report you would additionally enter in the applicant’s rental and employment information. Once you submit the application you’re in the RSI queue for processing. Your application is now in front of every application that was received by fax and hasn’t yet been entered into the RSI system.
Wondering if RSI has made any calls on your application? Does the applicant have a criminal? You don’t have to wait or call in to check on an application. Login to the RSI website and you can view Pending Reports. Every section of the background check will be available in the Pending Reports section to review.
If you want results back fast or want to know the status on an application the RSI website is just a click away.

Best Practices
RSI has recently received the following question from several clients. They want to know if they should run all the applicants on the rental application or just the primary applicant. Some of the reasoning for this confusion is when only one applicant has a source of income, or one of the applicants is a stay at home parent.
When ordering a background check, RSI recommends ordering a report on every person over the age of 18 that will be living at the rental property. When you pick and choose which applicant to run you could open yourself up to a Fair Housing lawsuit.
If you send applications directly to the RSI office, make sure that you include your account name or code and level of service. Clients that use the RSI Insta-Chek Scorecard should also include the rental amount. If ordering an Express Report income information is needed for each applicant.
When using the RSI Quick App let your prospective renters know they need to have one person use the main link and any additional applicants should wait to receive a secondary link from the first applicant. This link is generated when the first applicant applies. This process will make sure each applicant’s information is combined. This makes it easier to meet income requirements.  
When completing a paper application or RSI Quick App, request that applicants use their full legal name including middle initial. This helps increase the level of accuracy in the background check.

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