South Dakota Tenant Screening
Last Updated: February 5, 2015
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory, an area that included most of South Dakota, from Napoleon Bonaparte, and President Thomas Jefferson organized a group commonly referred to as the “Lewis and Clark Expedition” to explore the newly acquired region. In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, beginning continuous American settlement of the area.
How to Screen a Tenant in South Dakota
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, South Dakota has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current South Dakota Housing Codes on the South Dakota State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
- Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in South Dakota
- South Dakota Attorney General – Landlord-Tenant Disputes
Recent Law Changes
A bill that would reclassify residential rental property in the state gets its first hearing in Pierre in February of 2015. The legislation is intended to show lawmakers what sort of rental options exist in the state. Currently, most rental property is classified as commercial for tax purposes. The proposed law would keep the same property tax rate as commercial properties but create a category for rental property. It’s likely the first step…
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
- Meth Labs: In South Dakota, a landlord who has actual knowledge of the existence of any prior manufacturing of methamphetamines on the premises must disclose that information to any lessee or any person who may become a lessee. If the residential premises consists of two or more housing units, the disclosure requirements apply only to the unit where there is knowledge of the existence of any prior manufacturing of methamphetamines. (S.D. Codified Laws Ann. 43-32-30)
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for South Dakota:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in South Dakota: SD Sex Offender Registry.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Butte, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Corson, Custer, Davison, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Haakon, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Harding, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, Mc Cook, Mc Pherson, Meade, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, Yankton, Ziebach.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Butte, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Corson, Custer, Davison, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Haakon, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Harding, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Meade, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Shannon, Spink, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, Yankton, Ziebach.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for South Dakota Landlords
- South Dakota State Bar Association Lawyer Referral
- South Dakota Courts Information
- Law Enforcement Agencies in South Dakota (Wikipedia)