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Tips for screening residential tenants in Washington State

In our Landlord 101 class we go over quite a few issues for new landlords.  One of the most important is tenant screening.   And, when doing your tenant screening it is really important to make sure you are screening the right person and not an identity thief.

Here are some tips to help with the screening process:

  • Make sure the application is filled out completely – This is my first screening criteria. I reject applicants who do not provide a complete application.
  • Check birthday, signature, and FULL name against photo ID — of course, this means you are requiring a photo ID.
  • Check SSN number on application and proof of SSN – typically social security card
  • Make sure paperwork like paystubs are originals or at least don’t look altered.

When checking their Washington Driver’s license you can also take some steps to make sure its a real/valid license.  That is because there is a pattern to Washington Drivers’ license numbers.  The WA driver’s license ID pattern is:

  • First five letters of person’s last name.  If less than 5 letters, there areasterisks (*) in the remaining spaces.
  • First letter of first name
  • Middle initial
  • Subtract birth year from 100
  • State filing number (could be any digit)
  • Month of birth code (see below)
  • Date of birth code (see below)

Birth Month Code

  • B – January
  • C – February
  • D – March
  • J – April
  • K – May
  • L – June
  • M – July
  • N – August
  • O – September
  • P – October
  • Q – November
  • R – December

Birth date code

  • A – 1
  • B – 2
  • C – 3
  • D – 4
  • E – 5
  • F – 6
  • G – 7
  • H – 8
  • Z – 9
  • S – 10
  • J – 11
  • K – 12
  • L – 13
  • M – 14
  • N – 15
  • W – 16
  • P – 17
  • Q – 18
  • R – 19
  • O – 20
  • 1 – 21
  • 2 – 22
  • 3 -23
  • 4 – 24
  • 5 – 25
  • 6 – 26
  • 7 – 27
  • 8  – 28
  • 9 – 29
  • T – 30
  • U – 31

 

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