What is Tenant Screening?


Whether you are an active real estate investor with 1 or more rental properties or an accidental landlord forced to rent out your home, the number one thing you need to know is this; do everything you can to protect your asset(s) by properly screening every renter applicant. This all starts with you properly and consistently screening every renter prospect that is interested in your rental.

A study by Real Property Management and Liminality found that 21% of landlords sometimes or never conduct background checks on their prospective tenants. The study also found the following:

  • Only 44% of DIY landlords conduct sex offender checks
  • Only 51% of DIY landlords conduct criminal background checks
  • 23% of DIY landlords sometimes or never conduct credit checks
  • Only 51% of DIY landlords contact past landlords for references

Tenant screening is the process of using data to objectively understand and screen your renter applicants. Having this third party and publicly available data will allow you to make the very best decision when filling your vacancy.

The product and service you are selling is your home and the consumers you are trying to attract are those looking to rent. The ultimate goal is to find the renters that have the highest chances of paying rent on time while also having the lowest possible chance of destroying your asset. When mixed in with great online marketing, it is possible to get the highest quality renter at the absolute highest market rental rate.

Properly screening tenants means at the very least you will have to do a background check, a credit check, view eviction history, employment history, previous address verification, sex offender report, determine rent-to-income ratio, run a bankruptcy report, do a pet liability analysis and do an identity verification.

According to Entrata, a property management software company for apartments, typical online rental applications have over 250 fields and 7 steps. This leads to only 33.8% of the applicants actually finishing the online screening process. This guide will help you get this closer to 100%.

In order to increase your chances of landlord success, it is essential to have a system in place that consistently screens all of your prospective tenants. In this Guide to Tenant Screening, you will learn the proper way to screen tenants, the laws associated with screening tenants, the process to accept and reject tenants and the tools available to you to be able to screen tenants at scale just like the professional property managers do.  

We know this seems like a lot but in the following chapters we will help walk you through the fundamentals of each of these processes and give you the tools to properly screen tenants for free with one click of the mouse.

Lets let the tenant screening journey begin…