4 key factors to consider when screening tenants

By Ashley Wilson

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Allow me to paint you a picture: It’s a hot summer afternoon and you have just shown up at your rental property to complete a final inspection after your last renter moved out. As you are walking up, you notice they have left some trash behind.

This is a little concerning but they paid the rent on-time every month, so no issues are to be anticipated right? Guess again! Upon entering the home, the stench is almost unbearable! As you turn the corner you have just been greeted by a sink full of roaches and a scene of absolute filth.

What is one to do?

You have new renters coming in less than a week and are left with a disaster that not even the security deposit is going to touch!

While not all of these horror stories can be avoided, they can certainly be minimized by following through on your due diligence as a landlord. It’s stories like these that beg the question, are you screening your tenants?

These four pillars of tenant screening are essential to uncovering any issues that will help you avoid a sink full of roaches in your rental!

1. Income: Do they make enough to pay you on time each month?

The rule of thumb is they must make approximately 3 times the rent each month. If the monthly rent is $2000 then the tenants should make at least $6,000 monthly.

2.Credit score: Do they have a history of paying the bills on time?

A credit check will look at the tenant’s ability to pay their bills on time. Everyone comes across a rough time here and there, if the tenant looks good in the other areas of importance, ask for an explanation of any discriminatory items.

3. Rental history: Do they have any prior evictions?

Any tenant who has a recent eviction is a red-flag! If they did not honor their lease with their previous landlord, why would they honor yours?

4. Criminal convictions: Do they have a criminal background?

A background check will examine the criminal history of your tenant and will allow you to know if a potential tenant will come with a criminal history.

In sum, there is not one hard and fast rule for tenant screening. However, these guidelines will give you the information you need in order to make an informed decision.

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About Ashley Wilson

Ashley is a co-founder and CMO of RenterResume. As a real estate professional, she understands the complexities & inefficiencies within the industry. It is her goal to make the rental market easier to navigate and understand. Away from RenterResume, she's an avid juicer who loves staying fit and getting outdoors!