Renter screening

There are two options for screening renters. Owners can use the inclusive screening criteria in the ordinance or do an individual assessment. Even if a rental property owner doesn't charge an application fee, they have to use one of these options.

Inclusive screening criteria

Under this option, standards can't be stricter than the standards in the ordinance, but they may be less restrictive. The inclusive guidelines cover criminal, rental, and credit history.

  • Criminal history
    • Cannot consider misdemeanors with dates of sentencing older than three years
    • Cannot consider felonies with dates of sentencing older than seven years
    • Cannot consider convictions for certain felonies with dates of sentencing older than 10 years, including: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first degree assault, first degree arson and first degree aggravated robbery
  • Rental history
    • Cannot consider evictions where judgment was entered three or more years from date of application
    • Cannot consider settlements entered one or more years before applicant submits application
    • Cannot consider dismissed evictions or evictions resulting in judgment for the applicant
    • Cannot screen out for insufficient rental history
    • If a landlord requires an income equal to three times the rent or higher, the landlord must allow an exception where the applicant can demonstrate a history of successful rent payment with an income less than three times the rent
  • Credit history
    • Cannot screen based on credit score, but can consider information in a credit report if relevant to ability to pay rent
    • Cannot screen out for insufficient credit history

Individual assessment option

If a property owner wants to use criteria stricter than those in the ordinance, they must evaluate applicants using an individual assessment. The property owner must consider all additional evidence provided by the applicant to explain, justify, or negate the relevance of information revealed by screening.

In an individual assessment, a property owner must consider:

  • The nature and severity of the incidents that would lead to a denial
  • The number and type of the incidents
  • The time that has passed since the incidents occurred
  • The age of the individual at the time the incidents occurred


A property owner may screen out any applicant in these situations:

  • Applicants convicted of drug offenses as defined in Section 102 of the federal Controlled Substances Act
  • Applicants convicted of offenses that would exclude them from federally assisted housing, including but not limited to when any member of the household is subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program

Contact us

Inspections Services Division

Regulatory Services





Public Service Building
505 S. Fourth Ave., Room 510B
Minneapolis, MN 55415