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Tenant screening can be one of the most important aspects to owning rental property. The more due diligence you preform in this area will only lead to a more stress free future when managing your property. So first, what are some qualities that make up a great tenant?

Qualities:
Ability to afford rent – not just the rent, but look for the applicant’s income from their job to be at LEAST 3x the monthly rent.
Stability of housing – look for renters that have lived somewhere for more than a few months at a time. Finding those who have rented for at least a year are most desirable.
Cleanliness – it would be best to desire someone that will appreciate the quality of apartment you are providing them and know that they are going to take care of the unit as you would. A neat trick that you can do is to take a peak inside the applicant’s car. This can often times be a good indicator as to how people treat their own possessions.
Pays rent on time – this one could be argued both ways, (opportunity to collect a late fee) but the issue here is the tenants are more likely to stop paying altogether in the long run. Ultimately this just creates more stress than is worth your time.

Here are a few things that you should be looking for in each applicant and if they do not meet these standards, should lead to a denial.

What I would call “absolutes.”
Income greater than 3x monthly rent
Good references
No evictions EVER
Clean background

As a reminder, never discriminate against race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap as these are all protected classes according to Fair Housing Laws. You should also check up on State and Local Fair Housing Laws to further ensure you have doing everything within your legal right.

To truly succeed in being a landlord, treat it like a business. And this is one of the most important parts of your business. Do your due diligence, be consistent in your screening and always, always stay true to your screening guidelines.