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The Ultimate Guide to Screening Tenants

Updated: Jan 25

Screening prospective tenants is one of the most important moves you can make as a property owner and landlord because the reality of it is that you’re more than likely renting your property out to a complete stranger. Since time is of the essence when it comes to filling your properties, it's important that you collect as much information as quickly as possible before handing over the keys. This is where screening comes into play, and it can provide you with all the information you need to ensure that you place your property in the hands of someone who will respect the space and pay their rent on time.

So, What is Tenant Screening?

Great question! Screening essentially means digging into potential tenants' backgrounds to ensure they are a good fit for your property. Simply judging a tenant on the application alone is not the most reliable these days as applications are easily fabricated. You want to protect yourself and your property from a sticky situation by conducting things like background checks, criminal checks, eviction history, credit history, employment and past rental checkups before entrusting someone to inhabit your property.

5 Qualities of a Great Tenant

While there are no guarantees you won’t encounter any issues with a tenant, there are some qualities that are a good indicator of what kind of tenant they will be. These common guidelines are used by professional property managers such as Utopia Management as a blueprint for identifying strong tenants.

  • The tenant provides an income that affords the cost of monthly rent, and they have a history of paying their rent on time.

  • They are able to prove employment and have a history of stable income.

  • They have a history of taking care of past rentals and leaving the unit in good shape.

  • They have clean criminal records and commendable credit.

  • Bonus! They’re pleasant and provide you with all of the information needed to go through the tenant screening process in a timely manner.

Of course, not every tenant you work with will be perfect, but looking for qualities such as those mentioned above will weed out many of the unsuitable candidates and save you future stress and concern.

Set Your Standards and Minimum Requirements