Finding the Best Tenants for Your Rental

Finding Tenants is easy.  Anyone can do it.  Just put an ad up on Craigslist and call it good.  Your phone will be ringing off the hook for your rental property. This is all true.

However, finding GREAT Tenants IS NOT easy!  This is where the misconception comes in.

Many of our clients used to believe they had the ability to find great Tenants as well, until those Tenants trashed their house and left them hanging with a $4,500 bill to repair the damages from their tenancy. The truth is, finding great Tenants is not easy at all.  it is a lot of work, but it is very much worthwhile in the long run.  I am going to talk about a few things you can do to help put finding a great Tenant in your favor:

  • Don’t feel pressured to accept the first person that sees your property.  Many people will get a lot of people that see their property and apply, in fact they get a flurry of calls and it soon becomes quite overwhelming. We have found that people will settle with the first people that see the property just to get it over with.
  • You can”pre-screen” people right over the phone and weed out the people that you would know right away will not be good Tenants.  This is a best practice or else you will waste a lot of time showing houses to unqualified people.  If they don’t meet these criteria, they will not qualify for your rental and you should not bother showing the property to them:
    • Ask if they make 3X your rental amount. This is the minimum amount a household can make and still afford housing.
    • Ask if when you pull their criminal record will you find anything.
    • Ask what their credit score is.  Most people know what their score is.  If their score is too low for you, then unless they have significant cash reserves to be able to pay in advance, you can choose to not show them.
    • Ask them what their rental history and employment history is.  If they jump around from house to house and/or job to job, those are all signs of instability.  The best way to predict the future is to look at the past.
  • Make sure you runt heir full credit/criminal/background check.  We have found that many homeowners will meet people and grant them the rental based on their in person meeting and “gut feeling”.  This is a huge mistake.  You are asking for a big problem. There are many people out there that show well in person, and even on the application, but when you dig in they will make for horrible nightmarish Tenants.
  • Make sure you call and get statements from the pervious 2 landlords, not just the current one.  Think about it, if the Tenant is a poor performing Tenant and the current landlord wants nothing more than to get rid of this Tenant, do you think he/she may shed a more positive light on that Tenant than is really true. Or for all we know; flat out lie just to rid of them?  We get written verifications whenever possible, this is always better for a paper trail.
  • Never, never, never allow a verbal verification of employment.  Please please, if you get anything form this article; get this.  I want to trust people, I do.  However people will do anything to get a place to live and lie cheat and scam others to get their way into a house sometimes.  It is unfortunate, but it is the society we live in.  People will put down and employer and instead of listing the real phone number, they will put their friends number and have them pose as a manager at that location.  It has happened many times.  Be sure to look up the phone number for the company on Google and call the number you find there, not the one supplied.  Then insist on written verification of employment.  You want to ensure that you get the amount they make per month to verify income as well as how long they have been employed there.

If you follow these best practice Tenant Screening guidelines, you will find your vacancy rates drop like a rock. There are a number of additional things that we do to ensure an outstanding Tenant, if you would like to know what they are, email us at and we can have a conversation some time.