20 Questions To Ask Potential Tenants | RentPrep

When trying to find the right tenant you can save yourself a lot of time by knowing what questions to ask potential tenants.

Marketing a vacant rental property means you will be getting phone calls from interested prospective tenants with all kinds of questions.

Save time for both you and the interested caller by conducting a pre-showing interview (over the phone) that reveals whether you are right for each other.

After answering the caller’s questions about the rental property, mention that you have a few questions of your own that will help them determine whether the rental property is a good fit for them.

It also gives you a chance to see whether the caller meets your initial criteria for screening.

20 Questions To Ask Potential Tenants:

  1. Do you currently rent, and if so, where?
  2. How long have you lived in your current home?
  3. Why are you looking for a new place to live?
  4. What date would you want to move in?
  5. What kind of work do you do?
  6. What is a rough estimate of your income?
  7. How many people would be living with you?
  8. How many people living with you smoke?
  9. How many parking spaces would you require if you rented here?
  10. How many pets do you have?
  11. Do you think your current landlord will give you a favorable reference?
  12. Does your current landlord know you are thinking of moving?
  13. Have you ever had an eviction?
  14. Are you familiar with our rental application process?
  15. Are there any issues I should know about before I run a background screening for all the adults in the household?
  16. Have you filed for bankruptcy recently?
  17. Will you be fine to pay our lease application fee of ($ amount) if you fill out the application?
  18. Would you be able to pay the security deposit of ($ amount) at the lease signing?
  19. Are you willing to sign a 1-year lease agreement?
  20. Do you have any questions for me about the process?


Based on what kind of answers the caller provides, you may be able to save both of you a lot of time and energy pursuing something that isn’t going to work.

For example, after you ask about the caller’s pets and you explain about your pet policy, you both may come to the understanding that their application would be denied based on pet ownership.

They may also learn something about the rental that doesn’t suit them and decline to pursue the property any further. Either way, you have conducted an efficient pre-showing interview that gives you time to work with truly qualified applicants.

How To Screen Applicants After Initial Questions

The purpose of the pre-screening questions is to limit the amount of bad applicants you show your rental unit to.

If the applicant sounds good over the phone and passes your criteria you will want to show them the rental.

We’ve created a tenant screening guide that walks you through all the steps involved.

questions to ask potential renters

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Texas Tenant Screening

From Austin and Dallas to Houston and everywhere in between, Texas tenant screening is really important for all landlords. The Lone Star State is unique, and the laws and regulations concerning tenant screening are slightly different than the rest of the country.

We’re here to deliver the latest information on Texas tenant screening topics so you’ll know what it takes to get a great tenant to rent from you.

  • Review Texas tenant screening regulations and laws
  • Link to free resources for Texas landlords
  • Get an overview of the tenant screening process
  • Choose a top tenant screening service

Laws on Texas Tenant Screening

Texas marches to the beat of its own drum, and it’s no different when it comes to the laws concerning tenant screening.

Any landlord with property in Texas should be aware of these specific regulations:

  • There is no limit as to how much a landlord can collect in application fees to cover screening costs.
  • You are required to provide a written notice of the tenant selection criteria
  • The applicant must sign an acknowledgement form verifying they received a written tenant criteria checklist

Generally, an application fee in Texas is considered nonrefundable unless the landlord has neglected to provide a tenant criteria checklist to the applicant. If that happens and the applicant is denied, they have the right to get the application fee refunded.

You can read more about Texas tenant screening laws, as well as many other landlord/tenant rules and regulations here.

Screening Mistakes You Must Avoid

Every landlord has the right to run a background check on applicants, but only if they have signed a document giving consent for you to do so.

You should always check to see that the rental application form you are using has a section that specifically requests a signed consent for a background check from the applicant. You won’t be able to do the background check without it.

Take a look at how we included that in the forms used at RentPrep.




The first red arrow shows the applicant that the application fee is non-refundable. This way, there is no confusion from the applicant as to whether they get any money back.

The second red arrow indicates where the applicant will sign that allows you to run a background check.

Now that you have the proper paperwork for a background check, make sure to look at our list of resources.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Texas:

Here at RentPrep, we want to help you find the best tenants in your area, so we’ve provided some free forms with resource links to get you started.

*Hot Landlord Tip: One secret we’ve learned over the years is to insist that applicants follow a “No Blank Space” policy for every one of your rental applications. All you have to do is make sure applicants fill in every space on your form. Unfortunately, most applicants who want to keep information hidden will often leave blank spaces on a rental application, so if you insist on no blank spaces, you can often screen out troublesome applicants right away.

Texas Tenant Screening Process

Good landlords always write up a list of screening criteria for each of your Texas rental properties. When you write it down and update it, you’ll always have it on hand for any interested applicants.

Screening criteria often includes factors such as the following:

  • Absolutely no smoking
  • Pet restrictions or limitations
  • Income must be at least 3 times the monthly rent
  • No history of violent crimes
  • No history of evictions

Check with the federal standards found on hud.gov to ensure you are not discriminating against any protected classes, such as disability, age, familial status and others.

No matter where you live, it’s always a good idea to have a current list of screening criteria. Remember that in Texas, it is required by law that you provide that criteria in written form for all applicants. Having a clear and concise screening criteria checklist is the first step in protecting yourself from discrimination lawsuits

As you look at applicants, always be consistent in screening procedures. Never make changes or exceptions to your screening criteria. You also should not jump from on view to another based on a case-by-case scenario. Any deviations could be seen as discrimination and may thrust you into legal troubles.

The tenant screening process is quite similar from state to state but Texas does a few things differently, such as:

  • In the event that two or more people apply for a rental property and you reject one of them, all of the applicants are considered as rejected.
  • When you approve an applicant but they decide not to move in, you don’t have to refund the application fee.
  • If the application is rejected, you must refund the application fee promptly.

Again, we suggest reading this detailed guide for more information that is specific to the state of Texas.

A Fun Tenant Screening Guide

Ready for some fun? Talking about tenant screening is important, but not very exciting. That’s why we put together this funny guide that takes you through the various steps that all landlords must consider.

Just click on the image below and see how the game of Guess Who can actually help you find better tenants.


Selecting a Screening Service

As soon as you have decided on a few tenant applicants, it’s time to run a background check on each one.

A thorough background check will always include the following items:

  • Eviction History
  • Bankruptcy Search
  • Judgments and Liens
  • Address History

Far too many landlords make the mistake of choosing an applicant simply based on an emotional reaction or a gut feeling. Don’t rely on intangible or vague hunches. Use solid information that will point you to the best tenant applicant.

If you have any questions about Texas tenant screenings, let us know. We at RentPrep have worked with more than 21,000 landlords over the past decade, and .

Take a look at RentPrep’s tenant screening packages to check out all the different services we provide.

Our FCRA certified screeners will always give you and every landlord the best tenant screening report available.

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Kwikset Kevo 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen Review | RentPrep

In today’s post we’re doing a Kwikset Kevo 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen review.

If you’re not familiar with Kevo, it is a “Smart Lock” that allows you to lock and unlock your deadbolt without using a physical key.

This is a nice feature for landlords who want to make their rental stand out from the competition and this is something a tech savvy renter would appreciate.

The second generation lock launched in August 2016 and brought several improvements with it.

Improvements to Kevo 2nd Gen Lock


  • Improved Internal Design
  • Improved Security
  • Improved Installation Guide

The 2nd generation model has a sleeker internal design and the cover you see above is made out of metal instead of plastic.

From the outside, the deadbolt looks the same, but has improved security to protect against “bump” keys that a thief could use.

The installation guide that is built into the app is extremely slick. In the image below you can see that you have a choice between an interactive guide and your classic PDF.


This link from Kwikset will go over installation tips if you’re curious.

You can check out even more information and reviews on Amazon.

Implications for Landlords


Kevo can certainly add value to a rental because it’s the first thing a prospective tenant will experience when they do a walkthrough.

Some people won’t care for the device but to a tech savvy consumer they will love the idea of keyless entry into their apartment or home.

If you hook up Kevo Plus you can open and close the lock from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. This could be a good solution for a tenant who is always locking themselves out since you can remote open the door.

Potential Negatives:

The Kevo App logs opens and closes by user. This seems like a nice feature but could seem a little big brother to a tenant if they’re aware of it.

Also, the device does take 4 AA batteries so there is some upkeep to consider there. If the batteries die, it can still be opened using a traditional key.

Closing Thoughts:

After a couple of weeks I’ve been very impressed with Kevo and would recommend it to any home owner or landlord.

However… I could understand someone’s argument of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It really depends on your rental and who you’re trying to attract.

But, I can’t think of any upgrade under $250 that would generate more interest/intrigue from a prospective tenant.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

(Special thanks to Kwikset for sending us a Kevo to try out for a review)

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How to Create a Warm, Inviting Winter Listing

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating A Welcoming Curb Appeal Maintain a polished look by keeping gutters clean and shrubs trimmed. Be sure to also remove any hazards by shoveling, sanding, and removing any ice or snow from the driveway, walkways, and sidewalks. To engage buyers on a gloomy day, keep […]

SB 918 – You Want Notice Where?

One of the more interesting bills that came out of a relatively quiet year from a legislative standpoint for California’s community associations is SB 918. This law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, does two main things:

One, it requires an owner to provide their association with all of the following information:

(1) The address or addresses to which notices from the association are to be delivered.

(2) An alternate or secondary address to which notices from the association are to be delivered.

(3) The name and address of his or her legal representative, if any, including any person with power of attorney or other person who can be contacted in the event of the owner’s extended absence from the separate interest.

(4) Whether the separate interest is owner-occupied, is rented out, if the parcel is developed but vacant, or if the parcel is undeveloped land.

Second, the bill requires associations to “solicit” these annual notices of each owner, and enter the date into the association’s books and records at least thirty days prior to making its annual disclosures required by Civil Code 5300.

If an owner fails to respond and provide the required notices, the property address is deemed to be the address to which all notices are to be delivered. While the information as to the rental status of the property could prove useful, and for certain associations may help in obtaining FHA certification, there is no indication as to what occurs if the owner fails to provide any information as to whether the property is owner-occupied, rented, or whether the property is vacant or undeveloped land. In addition, there has been no requirement in the past for an association to track the number of rental units or vacant or undeveloped property within the association. Given that the new law now requires associations to “solicit” that information, it is unclear if the law also now requires the association to track that information or if it only needs to update the address information in the association’s books and records. While there is no apparent penalty for failing to track the status of the property as rented, vacant or undeveloped land, it may be the best practice to include that information in the association’s records to the extent it receives responses from the owners to the annual solicitation.

So what does this mean for managers and board members? A new annual requirement to send out a request to all owners asking them to provide the information listed above. The request, which can be included in another mailing and is not required to be mailed separately, must be sent out early enough to allow the association to update its books and records with any information provided in response to the request no later than thirty days prior to the date it sends out its annual disclosures. Boards and managers should take time now to prepare an appropriate form to use to solicit the required information, and update their annual calendars and schedule when to send out the annual solicitation to the owners so that there is sufficient time to update the associations records each year at least thirty days prior to the mailing of the annual disclosures. For some associations, they may also need to consider the budgetary impact of not only the mailing of the form, but the time necessary to update the association’s records on an annual basis.

Robert M. DeNichilo, EsqRobert DeNichilo - Sept 2013-9388-final

Mr. DeNichilo is partner in the law firm Nordberg|DeNichilo, LLP, and specializes in representing homeowners associations throughout Southern California. He is an active member of CAI, and serves on the Legislative Support Committee of the Greater Inland Empire Chapter, acts as co-chair of the Orange County Chapter’s Legislative Support Committee and is the chapter’s liaison to CLAC. He is a frequent speaker at industry and management company educational events. Mr. DeNichilo publishes a blog on association related topics at HOABrief.com. For more information, please visit NDHOALaw.com

Can I Run a Background Check on a Current Tenant?

So you’ve got a tenant in your rental but you’ve got a sneaky suspicion that they might have a murky past. Perhaps someone told you to run a background check but now you’re left wondering, “Can I run a background check on a current tenant?”

The short answer is… yes you can.

However, you will want to make sure you do it in a legal way.

If you had your tenant fill out a rental application you will want to make sure they signed off on running a background check.

On our rental applications you will see on the backside something like this:

Can I Run a Background Check on a Current Tenant

The top arrow highlights the fact that they’re paying a fee for the application, the lower arrow is for their signature to run a background check.

Most rental applications do not specify a timeline of when you can run a background check so this leaves the door open.

If you have a signed lease and a signed rental application form then you can run a background check.

One thing to look for: Make sure that the rental application permission is giving permission to the “landlord” to run a background check.

If you look at the top of the image above it says the following:


“I/we, the undersigned, authorize Fidelis Screening Solutions* LLC, Landlord, and it’s agents to obtain…”


You’ll notice that the landlord is part of the written permission in this particular rental application. You’ll want to make sure you have permission on whatever form you used.

*In case you were wondering… Fidelis Screening Solutions is the LLC we run our business under.


However, if you’re running a report on your tenant after 30 days of them moving in… you’re asking for trouble.

The tenant can see if their credit was pulled and many times will want to know why you (the landlord) ran a background check when they’re already in the rental.

Things to consider before running a background check on a current tenant

If you’re having issues with a tenant, it might be worth your while to address those issues directly with the tenant.

This could save you from a heated exchange when they discover you ran a background report.

If you’re seriously concerned for the safety of neighbors then yes it may make sense to run the report.

We suggest running a Pro Package Report where you can see full criminal history of the tenant.

Make sure you reference your rental application

Before you run any kind of criminal records or background reports, make sure you have an application on file. That’s going to be the legal consent to run your background check.

If you’re interested in running a background check but still have questions, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

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Tenant Screening California

California tenant screening is unique because the Golden Coast tends to do things a little bit different compared to other states.

That’s why this post will cover the following topics so you can get the best tenant in your rental property.

  • California tenant screening laws
  • Resources needed for tenant screening
  • An overview of the screening process
  • Selecting a tenant screening service

California Tenant Screening Laws

California laws tend to differ some from the other states.

Here’s some quick info you should be aware of as a landlord.

  • As of 2012 the most you can charge for an application fee is $49.50 and it should not exceed the landlord’s actual out-of-pocket costs *dca.ca.gov
  • You can charge a maximum security deposit that is up to two times the monthly rent
  • You will be required to provide a copy of the credit report if the the tenant requests it

It should be noted that an application fee is typically non-refundable and not part of the security deposit. If a landlord chooses to refund the application fee they can do that.

If you want even further detail on laws involved with california tenant screening, you can read it here.

Don’t Make This Screening Mistake

As a landlord you have the right to run a background check on your tenant only if you have signed consent from the tenant.

Most (but not all) rental application forms will have a section on the application that requests signed consent from the tenant applicant to run a background check.

Here’s a snapshot of that language on our forms we use here at RentPrep.

california tenant screening

You need signed consent from your applicant to be able to do a legal tenant screening.

This leads nicely to our resources part of the post.

Resources for Tenant Screening California:

You need a reliable and compliant rental application. Make sure you get signed consent from the tenant applicant.

  • Rental Application PDF – Don’t allow any blank spaces on the rental application. This will weed out a lot of bad applicants.

This is good to know if you’re planning on running a background check on your tenant applicants.

California Tenant Screening Process

It’s important that you create a screening criteria for each of your rental properties and write it down for safe keeping.

Your criteria may include things such as the following:

  • No smoking
  • No pets
  • Must make 3x the monthly rent
  • No violent crimes
  • No previous evictions

You never want your criteria, marketing, or screening process to discriminate against any of the protected classes as defined by hud.gov.

Having your criteria written down is the first step in protecting yourself from a lawsuit from a denied applicant or Government agency.

The second step is to make sure you’re consistent in your screening of tenants. Don’t make exceptions or changes to your criteria on a case-by-case scenario because this could be deemed discrimination and could put you in legal trouble.

For the most part the tenant screening process is the same from state-to-state but there are a few things to keep in mind for California.

As we mentioned earlier… you can charge up to two months rent for a security deposit

However, if the rental is furnished, you can charge up to three months rent for the security deposit…

… and a waterbed can add an additional half month worth of rent to the security deposit.

Again, we suggest reading this PDF for more insights specific to California.

A Fun Tenant Screening Guide

We know that tenant screening isn’t the most exciting topic, so we also have a fun guide that goes through all the steps you should consider.

You can click the image below and see how we used Guess Who to create a tenant screening board game.


Selecting a Screening Service

Once you have arrived at a select few tenant applicants you need to run a background check.

A proper background check at the most basic level must include the following items:

  • Eviction History
  • Bankruptcy Search
  • Judgements & Liens
  • Address History

You don’t want to rent to a tenant based only on your gut feeling. This is a recipe for a future headache.

Here at RentPrep we’ve worked with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years.

Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

The post Tenant Screening California appeared first on RentPrep.

Get Shopping! Black Friday Deals for the Home

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Are you looking for a bargain this Black Friday with home goods? Deals on household products and appliances are abundant this season. Need to add to your staging inventory or looking for that perfect housewarming gift for your clients? Peruse the ads to spot the best deals. TheBlackFriday.com has […]

Smoking Weed

QUESTION: Our association prohibits smoking in the common areas. Does the legalization of marijuana mean that our rules no longer apply?

ANSWER: With the passage of Proposition 64, everyone is giddy about lighting up a Doobie. They need to read the fine print before doing so.

Limitations. Proposition 64 does not invalidate existing laws, ordinances or restrictions against smoking. Pot smokers cannot light up in restaurants, theaters, schools, daycare centers, airplanes, or public places. If your association restricts smoking in the common areas, it applies to all smoking, including recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.

Medicinal Users. I don’t think there will be a problem with recreational smokers. It’s been my experience that medicinal users can be challenging because they feel entitled. They believe a doctor’s note gives them the right to smoke anywhere, anytime. They are mistaken. Pot smokers do not have a right to negatively impact those around them. If a user is in the common areas and wants their medicine–they can eat a brownie. If they feel the need to smoke–they can find a place without restrictions.

RECOMMENDATION: If someone lights up in the common areas, don’t snatch the joint from their fingers. That will lead to an altercation. Send a letter politely advising them of the smoking restriction. If they refuse to comply, fines and suspension of privileges can be imposed (following a duly noticed hearing). If that doesn’t work, have your association’s lawyer send a letter. If all else fails, file a lawsuit. Sad to say, some people need to be hit with a baseball bat before they get it.


: Our home sits in the sight line of the president of our HOA. As a result, we are getting letters to correct the smallest violations on a monthly basis. Our surveillance cameras caught him with binoculars peering at our property. Can I sue for harassment?

ANSWER: That’s awkward–his binoculars and your cameras peering at each other. If the president is truly harassing you, yes you can sue.

In an unpublished case decided in July of this year, an association president harassed a resident by publicly disparaging the resident, improperly towing his guest’s car, sitting outside his house with a video camera, refusing to allow needed repairs, and a number of other improper actions.

The resident sued the association and its president for intentional infliction of emotional stress citing 19 separate incidents. The trial court dismissed the action but the court of appeal reversed. The appellate justices made it clear that directors can be sued for their bad behavior. (See Boswell v. The Retreat Community Assn.)

RECOMMENDATION: Hire a lawyer and start with a letter to the board. If it causes the president to back off, you can avoid costly and uncertain litigation. Litigation is uncertain because a court could easily find that you had numerous rules violations and the president was properly giving notice of those violations.


Here is an interesting bit of trivia. We can credit (or blame) a condo board president for making Donald Trump President of the United States.

Kellyanne Conway is a campaign manager, strategist, and pollster. Trump met Conway when she served on the condominium board at the Trump World Tower in Manhattan.

According to a Washington Post interview, Trump would show up at board meetings to hear residents’ concerns. He liked how Conway handled board meetings and followed her career managing political campaigns.

When the time was right, Trump convinced Ms. Conway to run his campaign. Thanks to her steady hand, Mr. Trump is now choosing his cabinet and meeting world leaders.

NOTE: I’ve known for years that if you can successfully run a condo board, you can do anything.

ABC’s of HOAs

HOA Organizers is hosting an event for board members to learn, interact, and meet with industry professionals.

I will cover new laws impacting associations. Demetrios Xanthos will review insurance issues. Neda Nehouray will address board management responsibilities and procedures. Robert Nordlund will provide tips for avoiding special assessments related to reserves and large repairs. There will be Q&A following each session.

This is a free event with a catered lunch and raffle prizes. The program will be held Saturday December 10, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the beautiful Olympic Collection, 11301 Olympic Blvd #204, Los Angeles 90064.
Please RSVP Christina Peterson by email or (818) 778-3331.

In addition, this year’s event will be streamed live on Facebook. If you are unable to attend, you can log onto the HOA Organizers Facebook page around 12 noon to watch the event.


I want to thank everyone for their positive feedback on our new website. Below are is a sampling:

Website #1. I checked out your new website and found it to be as gorgeous as promised in your newsletter. Really excellent. Congratulations on a job well done. I’ve always loved your website and considered it an excellent resource both for the public and for attorneys like me who don’t specialize in HOA law. Now it’s a pleasure to look at, too. -Susan K.

Website #2. I love your new website and all the wonderful information you provide–even here in Boynton Beach, Florida. -Gail S.

RESPONSE: It may be time for me to open an office in Florida.


Failure to Investigate. In Palm Springs Villas v. Parth, the president was completely unqualified to be president. She should have familiarized herself with the CC&Rs, bylaws, and other documents prior to her first board meeting. Ditto the financial statements. I don’t know who the lender was but the people making the loan should have done their own due diligence. Moreover, what were the rest of the board doing while this was going on? -John A.

RESPONSE: I agree. Fellow directors should have removed her as president long before. They could have avoided costly litigation.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.

We are friendly lawyers. For quality legal service, Boards should call (800) 464-2817 or email.

Landlords, Insurance and Banned Dog Breeds

Landlords must carry insurance on any property they own, and it is meant to take care of things like liability and personal injuries for tenants and guests on the premises. Attacks from dogs are just one of many things that can happen that causes landlords to file an insurance claim.

According to the website DogsBite.org, there are approximately 1,000 people in the United States that suffer from dog bites, per day. The website reports that 81% of dog attacks are on children. It also states that only about 9 percent of all dog breeds that exist today are responsible for the majority of attacks.

As a result, more and more insurance companies are coming up with lists of dog breeds that are banned from coverage. In other words, the insurance coverage will not extend to incidents involving that dog. We’ve got a comprehensive list of these breeds coming up, but first, what should landlords know about why insurance companies even care about dog breeds?

Why Do Insurance Companies Focus on Certain Dog Breeds?

Certain dog breeds have a reputation in society for being more aggressive than others, and some breeds are definitely most likely to be involved in bite-related accidents than other breeds. Studies and statistics reinforce which dog breeds are most involved in bites, maiming and fatalities.

Insurance companies are supposed to evaluate the risk of an incident happening, and they often feel that the presence of certain dog breeds on a home owner’s property boosts that risk. Certain dogs simply pose a higher risk of harming someone than others, so to many, it makes sense to ban those breeds from coverage.

This motivation for creating a banned breed list is a business decision made by the insurance companies to balance their coverage of the incidents that might happen on a person’s property and their need to minimize the risk of extreme payouts that could sink their company. Most insurance companies develop their own lists and issue them company-wide.

Certain states have deemed the practice of banned breed lists, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, and many other states are working on legislation that would put a stop to such lists. Many opponents of banned breed lists argue that proper training and care can eliminate the problems in even the most stereotypically aggressive breed, and that poor training and improper care can elevate a “non-violent” breed of dog into something dangerous. However, insurance companies have to do risk assessments for a range of circumstances, and a banned breed list seems to make sense to many of them as a way to categorize potential problems.

So what does this mean for landlords? In order to protect their investment and ensure that their insurance coverage extends to cover any dog bite incidents, landlords must specifically ask their insurance agent about whether or not the company has a list of banned dog breeds. If they do, the landlord needs to make sure that all applicants and tenants are not owners of any of the banned breeds of dogs.

12 Most Common Banned Dog Breeds

There are many different lists put out by insurance companies across the country about which dog breeds are considered the most dangerous and therefore banned from coverage. Again, most of the banned breeds make these lists because statistically they are involved in more attacks on people than other breeds.

1. Pit Bull

With a history of being bred as fighting dogs, perhaps no breed is more associated with attacks than the pit bull. Statistics show that pit bulls are the number one breed involved in dog bits and dog attacks in the country, far more than any other breed. Advocates insist that the breed’s bad image has been elevated unfairly and that they make excellent family pets. The website, DogTime describes pit bulls as courageous, tenacious and highly trainable. However, without proper handling, they can be unpredictable and their size and strength make any attacks especially vicious.

2. Doberman Pinscher

Alert, fearless and loyal—these are the traits that are frequently ascribed to the Doberman Pinscher. Although Dobermans are less likely to cause fatalities when they attack, they are still capable of causing lots of injuries. These high-energy dogs are very trainable, and when socialized at a young age, experts say they are wonderful pets with little trouble.

3. Rottweiler

Without obedience training, Rottweilers can be unpredictable and possessive. However, their value as service dogs, therapy animals and work dogs is beyond compare. The problem with such a massive dog as a Rottweiler is that when an attack does happen, the likelihood of fatality rises, especially for children. With proper socialization and training, Rottweilers are among the most loyal and affectionate breeds.

4. Great Dane

Their size alone means that they can seriously injure someone when provoked, and Great Danes often look more intimidating than they really are. Mature Great Danes are powerfully built and can weigh in at 120 pounds. While many Great Danes are gentle and good natured when properly trained, their high energy level and sheer physicality can translate to dangerous levels if they become aggressive.

5. Presa Canario

While not a well-known breed, the Presa Canario, or Canary Mastiff, often appears on banned breed lists after a fatal 2001 incident that made the national news. The broad chest and powerful jaws give them a very fierce look, and they can top out at around 120 pounds at maturity. Without proper socialization, Presa Canerios can be aggressive toward strangers and other dogs.

6. Chow Chow

Despite the funny name, Chow Chows are known for being very territorial and may act out if they feel their family is being threatened. The American Kennel Club describes Chow Chows as serious-minded and dignified, a true reflection of the breed’s personality. These medium-sized dogs are big enough to cause harm if provoked.

7. German Shephard

Simultaneously viewed as heroic and smart, such as police dogs, and fierce and aggressive, as guard dogs, German Shepherds deserve both reputations. Depending on training, German Shepherds can range from calm to aggressive, and unfortunately is one of the most feared dog breeds in the country.

8. Alaskan Malamute

While their abilities as sled dogs and as working dogs are unparalleled, the Alaskan Malamute is known to require constant obedience training. In the best circumstances, the breed makes a wonderful family pet but their strong will and intelligence means that with the wrong owner, they can easily get out of control.

9. Akita

Even the AKC notes that Akitas, while beautiful and hard-working, should be supervised when around other animals and children. With a respect for social hierarchy is a big part of an Akita’s world view, they may be agressive and dominating if they are trying to establish themselves within the family. However, their endurance, strength and speed in learning have made Akitas very common as family pets.

10. Cane Corso

Bred to be fierce protectors of farms and families, the Cane Corso is also highly trainable. Also known as an Italian Mastiff, the Cane Corso can reach up to 110 pounds and its physique is definitely powerful and imposing. Descended from dogs used in ancient Roman warfare, Cane Corsos definitely need consistent training and strong leadership from its owners to curb aggressive tendencies.

11. Bull Mastiff

In order to become a well-behaved guard dog, the Bull Mastiff needs consistent training and socialization from an early age. While Bull Mastiffs may not currently rank quite as high as other types on banned dog breed lists, the number of incidents are creeping up. With powerful jaws and a muscular body that can reach 130 pounds, a Bull Mastiff can be especially dangerous when provoked or when it feels its family is in danger.

12. Wolf Hybrid

While wolf hybrids are not an actual breed, many insurance companies include dogs that have wolf lineage as off limits for coverage. With an estimated 300,000 wolf hybrids in the United States, owners often breed larger dogs like Alaskan Malamutes or German Shepherds with wolves to create an exotic-looking pet. Almost all the states ban ownership and breeding of wolves and dogs, and the unpredictable mixture of genetic traits make them hard for people to have confidence in these hybrids.

What Should Landlords Do About Banned Dog Breeds?

Once landlords find out the list of banned breeds that their insurance company has put together, they can make the decision to continue to be a customer of the company or shop around for a non-discriminatory insurance company.

If landlords decide they must stick with their current insurance company, then they need to be proactive about informing applicants and tenants about the banned dog breeds. The best way to do this is during the application process, and asking questions about pets. Many landlords have a short information sheet that lists the banned dog breeds and the reasons why. They can hand out this paper during the application process or include it in the information packet for the rental property during an open house.

Banned dog breeds should also be listed by name in the lease agreement or as an addendum to the lease. If tenants move in without a dog and later acquire one that is on the banned dog breeds list, the landlord can consider this a violation of the lease agreement and there is grounds for a Comply or Quit Notice that could lead to eviction.

Pet-friendly rental properties are highly desirable and landlords that allow dogs, especially with no restrictions on breeds or sizes will usually have plenty of applicants when a unit is vacant. However, if the landlord’s insurance company has a list of banned breeds that they require, landlords must make the decision on whether to comply or switch companies. It’s unfortunate that most of the time, dog attacks are a result of poor training and bad owners rather than the dogs themselves, but landlords must take everything into consideration regarding pets, and dogs in particular, to see what makes the most sense for their business.

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