Perform 5 Imperative Checks When Screening Prospective Tenants

Tenant screening is necessary for all landlords as bad tenants are like bad stains on clothes that are difficult to wash-off or leave a blot behind. Hence screening of tenants is inevitable to protect properties. Apart from eliminating the risk of having troublesome tenants, screening helps landlords to be more familiar with tenants. Mentioned here are some basic checks that should be performed and related questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants before renting his property.

Screening prospective tenantsImage Courtesy of basketman /

1. Basic Information

When screening the tenants, you should start with questions relating to their biographical information such as:

  • What is your name, current address, email id and contact number?
  • How do you earn your living and how much money do you earn.
  • Where are you current employment, length of employment, etc.?
  • How many residents will be living in the apartment? It is an important question to ask as overcrowding can be a safety threat to the property. Owing to the economic meltdown, families tend to live together as a cost saving way of living.

Besides, other questions to inquire include:

  • Do you plan to keep pets with you? If so, what kind?
  • Do you possess any vehicles? If so, how many and what kind?
  • What are the ages’s of people who’ll be occupying the house?
  • For how long do you intend to stay in the house?


2. Rental History Check

It is very important to know about the rental history of the tenant in order to get an insight into the type of your tenant. The landlord should find out where the tenant is living as of now and the reason for vacating the previous house. Following questions lend you a hand to know about the rental history of the prospectus tenants.

  • Have you stayed in rented accommodation before, if so where? Please provide contact details of your current and previous landlords
  • Were you ever driven out by a landlord?
  • What made you search for a new accommodation?

Listen carefully as the answers to such questions help you to get acquainted with the nature of the individual. Besides, you may call previous landlords to enquire about the person’s credibility.

3. Credit check

The details of the financial credibility of the prospective tenant are very important to know whether the tenant can pay the monthly rent. Credit ratings can be checked through a reputed agency. The report should reflect a healthy credit pattern. The credit information should include

  • Is there any outstanding loan?
  • Have you ever skipped debts or filed for bankruptcy
  • Name of bank and present bank statements


4. Identity verification

The landlord should check the prospective tenants’ identification to confirm really they are the same people as they are posing to be. For that they need to check their documents such as:

  • Photo ID
  • Driving License
  • Social Security Number

A surprise visit to their work place is one great idea to do snooping.

5. Criminal Background Check

Apart from being able to pay, your prospective tenant should be free from crimes or any violations. You may also put a straight question to the tenant:

Have you ever been convicted? And, if so what was the reason behind.

To ensure the person is telling the truth, it is important to have their criminal background checked. This helps you to avoid people previously accused on charges of drunken assault or robbery. Inquiring the previous landlord about the person helps to know whether the person is a good tenant or not.

Once, you have finalized the tenant, let your tenants know of your expectations and rules they need to adhere to.

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