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The Value of Tenant Screening – Ensuring the Best Match

Tenant screenings are essential in the rental process, allowing landlords to make well-informed decisions about potential tenants. A thorough screening ensures that properties are placed in trustworthy hands.
Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash
  1. What is tenant screening?
  2. Tenant Screening 101: Tips for Hassle-Free Landlord Experience
  3. Legal Compliance

 

1. What is tenant screening?

Tenant background checks are vital to the rental process. They ensure landlords have the information to make informed decisions about potential tenants.

For a landlord or property manager, finding the ideal tenant should be more than just a priority; it should be a goal. One of the best things you can do to achieve this is to perform a tenant screening on all applicants, whether you own commercial or residential properties. 

Tenant background checks are not just a formality but a crucial part of the rental process. They help landlords assess a tenant’s suitability, credibility, and reliability. By conducting thorough screenings, landlords can verify a tenant’s identity, adress, job status, and income-to-rent ratio.

This process gives landlords peace of mind, knowing they place their property in trustworthy hands.

Tenant screening is not just a step in the rental agreement process; it’s a crucial one that sets the foundation for a transparent and secure tenancy. The tenant’s personal information, employment history, income verification, and references are critical components of a rental application. This information is not just for formality; landlords must assess prospective tenants’ eligibility and determine if they can fulfill their rental obligations.

By understanding and adhering to these screening criteria, landlords can make informed choices that benefit both parties in the landlord-tenant relationship.                       

2. Tenant Screening 101: Tips for Hassle-Free Landlord Experience

Tenant screening services in France function similarly to those in other countries. They employ various tools and checks to ensure landlords can make informed decisions about prospective tenants.

Screening typically involves verifying the tenant’s identity, proof of domicile and employment, and rental history.

In France, platforms like DossierFacile.fr, backed by the government, help streamline the collection and verification of these documents securely, ensuring compliance with local laws and reducing the potential for document fraud or misuse.

You are entitled to ask prospective tenants to supply their income details, such as a copy of their employment contract, salary statement, company accounts, and income tax returns.                                                   

List of authorized and non-authorized documents

There is a list of authorized documents, and the owner is prohibited from requiring other documents.

The list of authorized supporting documents differs depending on whether it concerns the tenant or his guarantor.

There is an online service where the tenant can deposit the authorized receipts and send them to the owner. Also, the landlord can create an account to encourage future tenant to use this online service.

The landlord may ask for information to verify your identity, address, job, and income.

However, if the landlord asks for something they’re not allowed to request, they could face a fine of up to €3,000 (or €15,000 if they’re a company).

Non-authorized documents

Certain documents may not be available upon request, such as a reference from a previous landlord confirming the absence of any outstanding rent arrears.

The other documents you cannot insist on include the following:

  • Social Security card;
  • Employer reference;
  • Authorisation to pay rent by direct debit;
  • Divorce judgment or marriage contract;
  • Medical records

It is advisable to consider obtaining multiple pieces of original evidence, such as salary slips and income tax returns, to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information provided.

The French expect to be asked for supporting information. This may not be the case with international tenants, so don’t be surprised by all these inquiries.

If the prospective tenant lacks the means to meet their rental obligations, you can refuse to grant a tenancy.

Authorized documents

Proof of identity

The owner will need to see one of the following valid IDs:

  • French or foreign identity card (with photo)
  • Foreigners or French passport (with photo)
  • Foreigners or French driver’s license (with photo)
  • Temporary residence permit
  • Resident Card
  • Card of a national of a Member State of the EU: EU: European Union or the EEA

The owner can request the original document even if you have provided a copy. This will help to prevent any misunderstandings or issues down the line. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that the document is either in French or has been translated into French. These rules apply to asking for proof of identity, proof of domicile, proof of employment status, and resource entitlement.

A proof of domicile

The owner needs to see one of the following documents as proof:

  • Three last rent receipts or, if necessary, a certificate from the previous owner (or his agent) indicating that the tenant is up to date with his rent and charges;
  • An attestation on the host’s honor indicating that the applicant for the rental resides at their home. This document serves as proof of residency;
  • Proof of address for service;
  • Last notice of property tax or, if necessary, title to the principal residence.

Proof of employment status

The owner needs to see one or more supporting the following documents as proof:

  • Employment or traineeship contract or, if necessary, a certificate from the employer specifying the employment and the proposed remuneration, the envisaged date of entry into service and, if required, the duration of the probationary period;
  • Student card or school certificate for the current year;
  • Copy of the professional card (liberal profession);
  • Copy of the certificate of identification of these: Insee (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) with identification numbers (self-employed);
  • Original D1 extract from the register of trades less than three months old (craftsman);
  • Extract K or Ka from the register of trade and businesses under three months of age (trade company);
  • Any recent evidence of professional activity (other cases).

Resource Entitlement

The owner needs to see one or more of the following documents as proof:

  • Last three salary slips;
  • Proof of payment of traineeship allowances;
  • Two last accounting balances or, if necessary, attestation of resources for the current financial year issued by an accounting officer (self-employed);
  • Proof of payment of allowances, pensions, social and family benefits, and allowances received during the last three months or proof of entitlement established by the paying agency (pension fund, Caf: Family Allowance Fund…);
  • Title to real estate or last notice of property tax;
  • Scholarship Award Notice (Scholar Student);
  • Justification of income from land, life annuities, or income from securities and movable capital
  • Simulation certificate for housing subsidies drawn up by the Caf (Family Allowance Fund) or by MSA (Agricultural Social Mutual Society) or by the tenant;
  • Last or penultimate tax or non-tax notice:

    Where all or part of the income received has not been taxed in France, the last or penultimate equivalent document made by the tax authorities of the State or Territory concerned must be provided.

Source by Service-Public.fr

3. Legal Compliance

All these checks are conducted within the framework of French law, which includes respecting the privacy and rights of the tenant. For instance, certain types of personal data may not be legally permissible to collect or must be handled in specific ways.

Tenant screening services in France are legal but must adhere strictly to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the specific French laws on data protection. Under these regulations, tenant screening must:

1. Consent

 Before you process any personal data of your tenant, it’s crucial to obtain their explicit consent. To ensure a fair process, permission should be given willingly, informedly, and without ambiguity.

Remember that your tenants can withdraw their consent at any time.

Useful resources:

Data Protection Laws and Regulations Report 2023-2024 France (iclg.com)

Data Protected France | Insights | Linklaters

2. Purpose Limitation and Data Minimization

When you collect data, please ensure you do so only for explicit and legitimate purposes and only collect relevant and necessary data for those purposes.

Useful resources:

Law in France – DLA Piper Global Data Protection Laws of the World (dlapiperdataprotection.com)

Data Protected France | Insights | Linklaters

3. Transparency

Let tenants know who is collecting their data, why it’s being collected, and how it will be used. This helps to ensure that their data is being processed fairly and transparently. So, don’t forget to give them all the necessary information.

Useful resources:

France – Data Protection Overview | Guidance Note | DataGuidance

Data Protection Laws and Regulations Report 2023-2024 France (iclg.com)

4. Rights of the Data Subject

Tenants can access their data, request corrections, and even request deletion under certain circumstances. Additionally, tenants have the right to object if they don’t want their data processed.

Useful resources:

France – Data Protection Overview | Guidance Note | DataGuidance

Data Protection Laws and Regulations Report 2023-2024 France (iclg.com)

5. Security and Confidentiality

Keeping personal data safe and secure is vital, so protecting it from unauthorized access, alteration, or destruction is a good idea.

Useful resources:

Law in France – DLA Piper Global Data Protection Laws of the World (dlapiperdataprotection.com)

GDPR Guide to National Implementation: France | White & Case LLP (whitecase.com)

The French data protection authority, CNIL, is there to help you understand and adhere to these regulations, so don’t hesitate to contact them for further guidance if needed.

Useful resources:

Data Protected France | Insights | Linklaters

Data Protection Laws and Regulations Report 2023-2024 France (iclg.com)

 

Please note: This article does not constitute legal advice – the information on this page has been prepared solely for your information. As we are not a law firm and act as a platform, we can and may share our estimations, but we cannot give you legal advice for your individual further proceedings.

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