A landlord’s most effective tool for choosing prospective tenants is diligent tenant screening, including checking a tenant’s credit history and references from previous landlords. Here are some basic guidelines for choosing good tenants (and avoiding legal trouble and the costs of eviction fees and lost rent).
To avoid legal problems and choose the best tenant, ask all prospective tenants to fill out a written rental application that includes information on the applicant's employment, income, credit and other personal information, such as names of references. A sample rental application is shown below.
Fair housing laws limit what landlords can say and do in the tenant screening and selection process, but they do not prohibit landlords from rejecting tenants based on legitimate business standards, such as a history of nonpayment of rent; negative references from previous landlords; insufficient income to pay the rent; convictions for criminal offenses (unless the conviction was for past
Private credit reporting agencies collect and sell credit files and other information about consumers. Many landlords find it essential to check a prospective tenant’s credit history with at least one credit reporting agency to see how responsible the person is managing money.