Protecting your property entails investing in a credit-worthy tenant who has a history of paying bills. By thoroughly investigating the renter, you may make an educated guess on whether he pays his bills on time, earns sufficient income and respects other people’s premises. Most of this info you can purchase from a tenant screening services. Other information can be found by phoning his references and employer.

Rental Program

Design a rental program for your prospective renters to gather very specific info. You want information on income, employment and personal references. Be sure to attach a release of information form to this lease program. You need written permission to pull credit reports, contact references and speak with the tenant’s employer. You may also charge a lease program fee to cover the expense of pulling the tenant screening report or the credit report.

Income Verification

Do not take the tenant’s word for it. Ask copies of pay stubs, W-2 forms or even a tax return to verify income levels. It is not hard to exaggerate income on a rental program. Make sure the tenant’s income is at least three times your requested monthly lease. With sufficient income, you increase your odds to get paid in time.

Credit History

With written permission, you may pull the tenant’s credit report. Check for temporary entries, judgments and set entries. Negative information on a credit report is indicative of somebody who’s in a financial hardship or does not pay invoices on time. Make particular note of 90-day or even 120-day late payments. A person with a couple of 30-day late payments may have a valid reason for those entries. Request the renter for the reason behind the late payments. If you choose to refuse an applicant based on his credit history, you must offer an Adverse Action Notice stating the reason for the denial, the credit reporting bureau utilized and its contact info.


Ask for personal references. You may choose to exclude family members as an individual reference disqualifier for a relative may not give an unbiased review of this applicant. Also, request contact info for the last two landlords. Request the landlords concerning the tenant’s repayment habits, whether he got together with neighbors, state of the unit upon vacancy and when he abided by the lease.

Employment Verification

Contact the tenant’s employer to verify employment. Do not call the telephone number given by the applicant. Some renters give out bogus numbers and also ask a friend to pretend to be his employer. Look up the provider’s contact info and request the personnel department. Ask the employer to verify employment and provide the duration of employment. Some employers may refuse to give out any personal information. Supply a copy of the written release from fax to confirm you’ve got permission to obtain this info.


Run a background check on the applicant. Look for public records like evictions and criminal records. Tenant screening services offer you this info as part of this bundle. You wish to ensure your prospective tenant does not have a criminal record if you are going to be residing with the person in close proximity.

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