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  • Writer's pictureJosé R. Hernández

The Comprehensive Guide to Tenant Screening

Tenant screening can be complex and time-consuming - but it doesn't have to be! This comprehensive guide to tenant screening will provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about prospective tenants. In addition, we'll help you understand the importance of credit, criminal, employment, and rental history checks so that you can create a tenant screening program that works for you.

Credit Check

Conducting a credit check is one of the most critical aspects of tenant screening. A credit check provides valuable insights into a tenant's financial history, allowing landlords to determine whether they are reliable and responsible individuals to pay rent on time. A credit report can reveal red flags such as late payments, bankruptcies, and charge-offs that may indicate a potential renter's ability to pay rent promptly. According to TransUnion, nearly 43% of property managers indicated non-payment of rent as the most common reason for evicting tenants. Therefore, conducting a credit check is crucial in reducing the chances of renting to a tenant who may default.

Criminal Background Check

Another critical aspect of tenant screening is conducting a criminal background check. This is important because, as a landlord, you must provide a safe living environment for your tenants. Running a criminal background check will help you identify potential issues arising from a tenant's history. According to the National Apartment Association, more than 80% of property managers and landlords report that conducting a criminal background check on tenants is a standard part of their screening process. Criminal history checks can reveal important information about a tenant's past, such as convictions for violent, drug-related, or sexual offenses. Conducting a thorough criminal background check can reduce the risk of renting to someone who may harm other tenants or the community.

Laws regarding criminal background checks on tenant screenings vary by state in the US and can change anytime. For example, landlords can conduct criminal background checks on their prospective tenants in Florida. However, they cannot solely rely on a tenant's criminal record to deny them tenancy. If landlords deny tenancy based on a potential tenant's criminal history, they must provide specific and valid justifications. Moreover, Florida prohibits considering certain criminal offenses, such as juvenile crimes or arrests that did not result in convictions. Therefore, knowing the state-specific laws is essential to ensure your tenant screening program remains legally compliant. To be safe, landlords must consult a lawyer before establishing a rental policy.

Employment Check

In addition to credit and criminal background checks, conducting an employment check can provide valuable information to landlords during the tenant screening process. Employment checks can help determine a tenant's ability to pay rent and maintain a stable source of income. According to a National Multifamily Housing Council survey, 62% of property managers considered employment verification necessary for tenant screening. Also, by checking employment history, landlords can confirm the consistency and longevity of the tenant's work experience, indicating their level of responsibility and reliability. Employment checks can also reveal fraudulent behavior, including falsified resumes or references. Therefore, conducting employment checks can provide landlords valuable insights into a tenant's financial stability, reliability, and trustworthiness.

Rental History Check

Rental history checks are another critical aspect of tenant screening. By contacting a tenant's previous landlords, a landlord can gain valuable insights into their tenant's behavior and reliability as a renter. A rental history check can reveal warning signs, such as late payments, property damage, or lease violations, which can help landlords make informed decisions about potential tenants. According to the National Association of Realtors, 76% of property managers stated that rental history was a crucial data point in their tenant screening process. Additionally, by contacting a potential tenant's previous landlords, landlords can confirm their identity and ensure they have no criminal history. A comprehensive rental history check can help landlords determine whether a tenant is suitable and reliable, reducing the risk of costly evictions and potential property damage.

Property Management Company

Hiring a property management company for your tenant screening processes is often worth the cost in terms of money saved by avoiding costly evictions and lawsuits due to negligence during the screening process. In addition, a professional property management team has access to resources that enable them to perform comprehensive checks quickly and accurately – saving you both time and energy while providing peace of mind knowing that each prospective tenant passes through rigorous vetting procedures before being approved for tenancy at your rental properties.


Tenant screenings are essential to the rental process as they provide landlords with valuable information about potential tenants. For example, criminal background checks, employment verifications, and rental history checks help determine a tenant's financial stability and trustworthiness. By conducting these screenings, landlords can reduce their risk of renting to someone who may pose a danger or be unreliable when paying rent on time.

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Don Asher & Associates

Don Asher and Associates is a full-service Real Estate company specializing in Property Management and HOA Management. Serving Central Florida since 1952, we help our clients achieve their financial goals!

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