Property Management Blog

The Process of Tenant Screening

Maria Napolitano - Wednesday, August 17, 2022

More than 122 million households live in rental properties, which means one in three people rent. As a landlord, you might have an overwhelming number of people apply for your rental properties, but you can only choose one for each.

So, how do you choose them? The best method is through tenant screening procedures. Screening each tenant helps you separate the good from the bad, leaving you with the best tenants for your properties.

But, how do you screen tenants? Keep reading this guide to learn the step-by-step process for screening tenants that apply for your properties.

Ask the Right Questions on Your Application

The tenant-screening process begins with your application. Therefore, it might be helpful to ask the right questions. Here are several good ones to ask:

  • Why are you moving?
  • Where did you live before?
  • How long did you live there?
  • What's your landlord's name?
  • How many people will live in the unit?

The questions you ask help you generate the answers you need to make an informed decision.

Require Consent

Next, you should ask the applicant to sign a consent form to screen prospective tenants. 

This form gives you the right to perform a background check, and you can't perform one without the applicant agreeing to it. Therefore, you should always require this form. 

Research the Right Areas

Next, you should consider using a tenant screening checklist to ensure you research the right areas. Here are the main areas to research:

Credit Score

First, you can check a person's credit. A credit score tells you how likely a person is to pay their rent on time. Choosing tenants with high credit scores decreases your risk of tenants not paying. 

Previous Landlords

Next, you can research the applicant's previous landlords. For example, you can contact a previous landlord to learn more about the tenant's payment history and other details. 

Criminal Record

Finally, you can look up a person's criminal record. Their criminal record tells you if they committed any crimes in the past. 

These are the main stages of tenant screening procedures. 

Determine the Criteria

Finally, it would be helpful to determine your criteria for approving applications from prospective tenants. By creating the criteria beforehand, you can avoid discrimination cases and choose the best tenants. 

For example, using the same tenant screening process for every tenant is essential. In other words, don't skip steps with prospective tenants. Instead, do the same steps with each one. 

Additionally, set the criteria for criminal histories and credit scores and stick with them. For example, if you want to require credit scores of 650 or higher, you can approve tenants only if they meet this standard.

Perform a Tenant Screening the Proper Way

Performing a tenant screening on each applicant helps you pick the right ones for your properties. You can perform these screenings yourself or hire it out.

If you'd like to hire it out, contact us at Allegiant Management Group in Kissimmee, FL. We offer property management services, including tenant screenings.