How To Screen Potential Tenants To Find A Good One

The key to the success of your rental property is finding a good tenant. Of course, that’s easier said than done, right?

If you’re like most landlords, you’ve given in and rented to a less-than-perfect tenant. Maybe they didn’t quite have the credit score they should, or they had a history of not paying on time. Whatever the case, a little digging might have turned up red flags that could’ve saved you the headache of dealing with these bad renters. 

There’s a right way and a wrong way to screen potential tenants, so let’s dive into a few helpful tips designed to help you determine the good from the bad. 

Have a Written Document with Qualifications 

Before you ever begin renting to anyone, you need to draft a document that outlines all your non-discriminatory qualifications for renters. This way, should someone accuse you of denying their application based on race, gender, disability, or some other discrimination, you’ll have a pre-existing document that explains your totally legal reasons for denying their application. 

Verify Income

Technology has made it easier than ever to counterfeit paystubs to show fraudulent income for the purposes of renting an apartment. As a landlord, you need to verify beyond paystubs that a potential tenant actually has a job and can afford the rent. Ask for three months’ bank statements to prove they have income coming into their account before letting them sign a lease. 

Look at Their Social Media Accounts

People are very open on social media. Use this to your advantage and check out any potential renters online. Look at Facebook, Linkedin, and any other social media account you can find them on to determine if they refer to any hate groups, drug use, criminal activity, etc. These sources are very valuable at divulging a person’s true nature. 

Contact Previous Landlords

Many landlords will only contact a current landlord to get a recommendation, but that landlord may have a good reason for giving a stellar review. It’s possible that the potential renter you’re considering has a history of paying rent late, damaging property, or being a nuisance to other tenants, which could cause their current landlord to lie about the type of people they really are. 

To get a better understanding of the type of renters you’re looking at, contact at least one or two other landlords they’ve had. These people are more inclined to give you an accurate picture. 

Do a Background Check

Finally, do a background check on every adult that will be living in the rental unit. Be alert to renters who try using a relative’s information in place of theirs to cover their own shady backgrounds.