Tips to Finding a Responsible and Trustworthy Tenant

When you’re a landlord, it can be a little tricky finding the right tenants to fill your unit. An ideal tenant is someone who will take care of the property, pay your rent on time, and fulfill the obligations laid out by the lease. It’s important to find a respectful tenant because an eviction is not only costly, it can be a serious headache that drags out for months. So, instead, read our tips for finding and choosing the perfect residents for your rental.

Step 1: Require an application

Every prospective tenant needs to complete an application in order to be considered for your unit. You can get a sample application template from your local real estate association or create your own using an app or website. 

One key consideration to make as you draft your rental application is to ensure that it truly covers everything you need to know about the applicant. You’ll want to know comprehensive background information like financial information, employment history, criminal history, and past rental history.

Things to look for on a rental application:

  • Does the individual have a stable job? Or has she or he switched jobs a lot in the last couple years?
  • What is the tenant’s current income level? Does it pay for rent plus living expenses?
  • Does the applicant have lots of debt obligations?

Make sure that on the application you require two to three-character references that you can call to get further information about the applicant.

Step 2: Run a credit check

A credit check is essential because it will tell you about an applicant’s financial history more thoroughly. It’s a good idea to look for red flags like late payments or bankruptcies. You should also pay attention to whether or not the applicant has a large amount of unpaid balances. These types of details could signal issues with paying rent on time later down the line – in almost all cases, this is not the kind of risk you want to assume. 

Step 3: Run a background check

A background check will let you know if a tenant is telling the truth about their past. It’ll reveal an applicant’s eviction history, criminal history, credit history, and various public records. If your tenant has recent evictions on their background check, it’s a good idea to reconsider renting to that person. Likewise, if the applicant has a lengthy criminal record, accepting a criminal on the premises could mean you open up yourself to legal liabilities if they commit a crime. You could even put yourself in danger for renting to him or her.

Step 4: Contact past landlords

It’s always a good idea to get in touch with past landlords to get a sense of the applicant’s lifestyle and relationship with the landlord. While you can’t risk invading anyone’s privacy, you could ask basic questions like if the tenant paid their rent and if the tenant received their security deposit back.

Step 5: Contact the applicant’s employer

Before you rent to someone, make sure that they still have the job they currently claim to have. It’s important that your tenant has steady, consistent income before you allow them to sign the rental agreement. You can either ask for a copy of their most recent paystub or contact their employer directly to learn more information. While the employer might not be able to give you salary history or information, they will be able to confirm and verify if the applicant works there.

Step 6: Showcase the home and interview the applicant

When all the background checks and financial checks come up clean, it’s a good idea to interview the potential questions to ask prospective tenants

  • Why are you moving from your current apartment
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Do you plan on getting a roommate in the future?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Do you smoke?
  • When would you like to move in?
  • How long have you lived in your current unit?
  • What is your current monthly income? 
  • Have you ever broken a rental agreement?


Finding a tenant for your unit can be nerve-wracking. But by following common-sense steps, you can find the perfect resident for your rental and start bringing in a consistent stream of income.

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