How To Screen Tenants

How To Screen Tenants

How To Screen Tenants

Knowing how to screen tenants properly is key to mitigating potential risk. In fact, not only does it help you avoid renting to an at-risk renter, it can also potentially save you thousands in lost revenue due to tenant property damage. But, for many landlords, the tenant screening process is often overlooked. Whether it is skipping the background check, overlooking red flags, or not paying attention to the credit report, bad screening almost always leads to bad tenants. The reality is, renting to the wrong people can lead to increased turnover, costly maintenance and repairs, and eviction headaches. Which is why, screening potential tenants is such a critical step in the leasing process! For those to looking to implement a good screening process, we offer some insight on three areas to consider.

Please Note: this information is not intended to be a substitute for qualified legal advice.

How To Screen Tenants: Background Checks

Background checks are one of the most important parts of the tenant screening process. They help inform you of a tenant’s past behavior and offer you valuable insight during the decision making process. It provides a comprehensive look at your applicants, and includes everything from a rental history to criminal history. Keep in mind, it is important to keep your tenant screening process consistent for all applicants. If you run background checks for one applicant, make sure you should do the same for every applicant. And, never let your emotions impact your judgement, especially when it comes to an applicant who has some red flags.

How To Screen Tenants: Credit Checks

Just as the background check is important to shed light some light on past behavior, the credit check helps you determine whether an applicant is likely to be a reliable tenant. That’s because it includes things like late payments, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and the all-important three-digit credit score. To find good tenants who will pay the rent on time and treat your property with the respect it deserves, always run credit checks!

How To Screen Tenants: Do Not Ignore Red Flags

Red flags come in many shapes and sizes, but the worst is, the omission of information on a rental application. While you may be tempted to overlook this, don’t. If someone refuses to provide you with information, do not move forward with the applicant! That’s because there many reasons applicants leave out critical information, this includes:

  • Having an eviction they are trying to hide
  • An unfavorable rental history
  • Inconsistent employment history
  • Or not having enough income for the rent rate

Never Let Your Emotions Impact Your Judgement

Don’t let your emotions impact your judgment, especially when it comes an applicant who has some obvious red flags. Some of the most obvious red flags are applicants with poor credit, past evictions, or a criminal past. While evictions can be filed for a variety of reasons, the most common one is for nonpayment of rent. As a landlord, one of your first obligations is to find the best tenant. Which is why, you should always run a credit check and a background check on your applicants! Remember, choosing the right tenant is a business decision. So, choose wisely and make sure to adopt a good screening process to ensure you are getting the best renters to rent your property.

How To Screen Tenants


As a rental property owner, you need to screen every applicant. After all, it is in your best interest to choose a one who can pay the rent on time, and keep your rental property in good condition. Which is why knowing how to screen tenants is so important! But, for most landlords, tenant screening is something that is a lot easier said than done. For this reason, you may want to consider hiring a property management company to help you. 

Whether you are interested in changing property managers, or simply looking to hire one for the first time, we can help. We manage all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, multi-family dwellings such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. It’s time to stop stressing and let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy life! Get started today by calling us at (858) 576-2176 and start saving time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals.