tenant screening

There are over 44 million apartment rentals in the United States, meaning millions more are trying to rent out properties as tenants. If you’re a rental property owner, finding the right tenants is crucial for your operations.

But how do you choose the best tenants? What do you need for your tenant screening process to ensure it all goes according to plan?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about how to strategize choosing tenants through a screening process. 

Why Do You Need to Screen Tenants?

The best reason for going through a rigorous screening process for tenants is that they’ll be a big chunk of your income as a renter. You need trustworthy tenants to make sure rent is being paid each month.

Tenants will make or break your real estate career. Bad tenants can break your property, miss rent, and eventually become squatters that ruin your property’s value. 

A good tenant, on the other hand, can improve your rental property’s value, invite better prospective tenants, and keep your monthly income in check. Let’s break down what goes into finding the best tenants.

Tenant Screening Checklist

The most effective way to differentiate a good tenant from a bad one is by systematically checking items off a list. This tenant screening checklist will help you guide your tenant search process.

A proper list will have everything from criminal background checks to credit score reports. Let’s go over the basics here:

Verifying IDs 

The first thing you should check is whether a tenant has a valid ID. While you probably won’t come across people with fakes, it’s crucial to check whether someone’s ID lines up with their previous address. 

You should also call up a tenant’s past employer if things feel fishy or unsure. They can verify an individual’s ID if need be.

Credit Score

Another important item to check is a tenant’s credit score. These will tell you everything from whether someone had a previous eviction, defaulted on payments, and their general ability to make payments on time. 

Does their credit score indicate an ability to pay rent each month on time? A low credit score might tell you otherwise while a high credit score indicates a trustworthy tenant. 

Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks should be high on your tenant screening list. Don’t forget to check both state and federal criminal backgrounds.

If your property is near a school or community center, we recommend conducting a sex offender check as well. Anything to keep your community safe should be prioritized as a renter.


Getting a full rental report for a tenant is important since you might find previous evictions. You can ask the tenant about them, or drop one entirely if they have an extensive eviction history. 

Speaking with past landlords is also valuable if you want the full picture. Did the tenant consistently pay on time? What issues did they have with payments? Would that landlord rent to them again?

Understanding How to Find the Best Tenants

Finding the best new tenants for your rental property can certainly be tricky but not impossible. Use this guide to optimize your tenant screening procedure and find the best tenants for your property today. 

Looking for reliable property management services in Minnesota? Contact us today and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

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