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The Do's and Don'ts of Screening a Potential Tenant

Posted by Melvin Monachan | Apr 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

A landlord's dream is to find a tenant who will keep the rental property in good condition, pay rent on time, and not create any disturbances for other neighbors. Good renters can be hard to find, though, so it is important to conduct a thorough screening process for any potential tenant to whom you may rent your property. A screening process is critical to finding a tenant who will respect both you and your property.

Screening Do's and Don'ts

When conducting your screening of potential tenants, there are several things which you should and shouldn't do.

  • Do interview potential renters. One of the easiest ways to screen a potential tenant is to have a one-on-one interview with the individual. Whether this is done face-to-face or over the phone, an interview can help you get a feel for your potential tenant.
  • Do perform a thorough background check. Sometimes, even an outstanding interviewer can have a checkered past. A criminal background check can alert you to red flags which your potential tenant may not have offered up, such as a criminal history.
  • Do take income into account. If your tenant is going to pay you, they will have to be able to make a sufficient living. If the person whom you are interviewing is unemployed or barely makes enough to get by, then there is a good chance that you may find yourself in an uncomfortable position in which your tenant is unable to pay rent. Be sure to look carefully at gaps in unemployment or many jobs in a short amount of time--this could be indicative of an inability to hold steady employment.
  • Do run a credit check on your potential tenant. Like a criminal background check, a credit check can help you uncover things that your potential tenant might not have told you in your interview, such as delinquencies in credit accounts, evictions, or foreclosures. These can be red flags as to your tenant's likelihood to pay rent on time.
  • Do ask for a rental history with contact information for previous landlords. Oftentimes, the best insight as to whether your potential tenant will be a good one is a reference from a previous landlord. If a prior landlord had an issue with your potential tenant, then you might have an issue with him or her in the future as well.
  • Don't deny a tenant based on an illegal purpose. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on several factors such as race, gender, or disability. Make sure that you don't deny any potential tenant for any of these purposes.
  • Don't disregard your gut. Sometimes, the best guide to whether you are dealing with a good potential tenant can be your own instinct. Don't disregard your first impressions or a gut feeling that you may have about a potential tenant--you may find that gut feeling to be true in the future.

In a Sticky Situation? Call Us Today

Sometimes, despite even the most careful screening processes, you may find yourself stuck with a problem tenant. If you are in need of legal assistance to evict a tenant who is not paying rent or is otherwise breaking your rental agreement, Melvin Monachan can help. Don't try to deal with a problematic tenant on your own--to schedule a consultation, fill out an online contact form or call (347) 620-0565 today.

About the Author

Melvin Monachan

Melvin Monachan is the founder of The Law Office of Melvin Monachan, PLLC, a full service, real estate law firm representing individuals, investors and corporate entities in all aspects of real estate law. On the transactional side, Melvin represents purchasers and...


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