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4 Tips that Will Help You Screen for the Right Tenants - What to Know

As a landlord, the biggest nightmare is not having a property that is not filled with tenants but rather a property that is occupied by horrible tenants. Because of this, when you go about looking for tenants to rent your place, setting up a proper screening procedure is essential not only to end up with excellent and reliable tenants but one that will help you take care of your property and ensure that your income remains steady. That must be done, whether it be by yourself or with help from a property management company.

If you are planning to go about this task on your own, here are a few tips on what you can do to thoroughly screen tenants:

1. Do a background check

Pretty much any individual can rent a property, whether they have committed a felon or not. Because of this, if you want to make sure that your list of tenants is ones that do not have a criminal record, it is entirely up to you to do a background check.

However, do note that denying an individual rental because of a past felony can be a violation of a fair housing law or regulation. Because of this, it is always a good idea to review the law. Also, if you do want to enforce this, make sure to be clear about it in your "list of criteria" for your tenants to see.

2. Talk to previous landlords

A great way to understand how the tenant has been in the past is to contact previous landlords. In most cases, how they have dealt with the tenant, whether good or bad, will most likely what you will end up dealing with. In other words, great tenants tend to stay great and bad ones bad.

For that reason, try your best to contact the potential tenant's previous landlord to help you understand what you are dealing with.

3. Check their employment status

If you want to know of an excellent way to figure out whether a tenant will be able to pay their rent on time, check out their employment status as well as income. While it will not be indicative of their ability to pay, it is generally so that those with a good-paying job will be more consistent with paying their rent.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to checking income is whether what the individual is earning is at least three times the amount the rent they are paying for. There are many other things you can take into consideration as well, such as their credit score or what they are currently paying off. For example, while they might not have that "three times the amount" criteria, that might be because they are paying off a car.

4. Know fair housing laws and regulations

Perhaps the most crucial aspect when it comes to screening tenants would be this. Why is this so? Well, your good intentions might have severe consequences. For example, you might have a no-pet policy in your property, which is legal. However, denying someone rent because they need a service dog is a violation of federal law.

Because of this, you need to do your research regarding your state's fair housing laws and regulations.


With that, we hope you can create a set of criteria and put into work processes and policies to ensure that all your tenants are great ones. However, if you are having trouble doing this or have no idea where to start, always feel free to work with a property management company. They will be able to find you only the best tenants. Plus, they will take care of the other property management needs too, giving you a lot more free time for other tasks.

If you are looking for a property management company in New York to work with, we are here for you! Get in touch with us to see how we can help you.

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