Free Tenant Screening Checklist

Free Tenant Screening Checklist

Bad tenants will turn a good investment into a bad one in a short time. As a landlord you have to do your best to minimize your risk. Below we have a handy free tenant screening checklist for you to use.

There are 3 primary steps for screening prospective tenants;

  1. Qualification: usually done over the phone but you can also use email.
  2. Showing:
  3. Application: verify applicants information and run credit/background check.

STEP 1 – Qualify the prospective tenant

Screening prospective tenants starts with qualifying your tenant over the phone or by email. Click here to learn more about why these 9 questions to ask prospective tenants are important. 

This checklist contains a list of questions you should ask every time you do a phone or email interview of the prospective tenant.

Click on the “Tenant Qualification” button below to open the free interactive checklist.  Feel Free to bookmark the checklist so you always have it online or you can print it out.

Free Tenant Screening Checklist

STEP 2 – Show your house

In this step, you will want to print out your qualification checklist you just completed in the step above and take it with you to the showing. This will be used to refresh your memory of your conversation and perhaps ask some of the questions again just to clarify if necessary.

If after showing the property, you believe the prospective tenant would make a good match for your rental property, initiate the application process. Some landlords like to do this online, while others have the tenant fill out paperwork. I like to do it all online if possible.

STEP3 – Verify the application

If the prospective tenant passes your requirements in the showing phase, then you will want to take an application. Processing the application is where you verify all the information the prospective tenant gave you in step 1, step 2 and the application. Here is a brief overview of what to verify and why.Verify Tenant Rental Application

  • Current Landlord

    • Be aware that if the current landlord wants to get rid of the tenant/tenants, they may tell a white lie to influence your decision.
    • When talking to the current landlord, you want to make sure he/she is really the landlord and not the potential tenant’s friend acting like the landlord. Here’s how;
      • Do this by asking something like, “what is the address to the property tenant X is renting” or “What was their move-in date?”
      • Questions like these require the person to answer questions that every landlord should know. If they come up with a different answer than what’s on the application, it should raise a red flag.
    • Finally, Ask the current landlord if he/she would rent their house to them again. You might be surprised what they say.
  • Previous Landlord

    • Previous landlords have no reason to tell a white lie, because the prospective tenant is not in their property. This means you can trust what they say, providing they are not also a friend posing as a landlord.
    • Ask the same questions in the same way you did the current landlord.
  • Employment History

    • Verify that their employer really exists. Prospective tenants might give you their supervisors direct number. Don’t use the supervisors direct number. Look up the company phone number and dial it direct, then ask for Human Resources or their supervisor.
    • Verify income amount. You need to match what your told to the amount they put on their application.
    • Verify length of employment. This will give you a good indicator of their stability. The longer the employment the more stable they are and the less likely they are to quit that job if you have to garnish their wage in the future.
    • Ask if they are an employee in good standing with the company. If you sense any hesitation, this could be a bad indicator of their job security.
  • Criminal History

    • Know everyone in your property. Don’t just be concerned with the one who’s paying the rent. At the very least run a local report on everyone over 18. The following are the most important things to know about your prospective tenants.
      • Eviction Report
      • Sex offender
      • Identity verfication
      • DEA, FBI and other databases.
      • Most wanted lists.
  • Eviction Report

    • A nationwide eviction search is better than a local search as most people have lived in several states throughout their life.
    • If an eviction is within the last 5 years I will deny them.
  • Credit HistoryWhat to look for in a tenants credit score

    • Credit history is a very good indicator of their attitude toward paying their obligations.  A credit score of 600 or above is a good indicator.
    • There are several places you can do credit checks online. Many of the credit checking services just give you a pass or fail without the FICO score. FICO score reports give you a lot more overall data that you can use to draw a better picture of the prospective tenants attitude about payments.

I’ve researched a lot of products on the web and the one that I like  is EZLandlordForms.

  • They do a Credit check with FICO scores.
  • Complete backgroung check.
  • Eviction Report (optional)
  • You can choose whether you will pay the fee (collected as application fee)  or you can opt to let your tenant pay it. Both options are totally free for you.

Learn more about tenant screening services at EZLandlordForms .

So that’s it, time to make a decision.

After you have a complete picture of who your prospective tenant/tenants are, you will be ready to make a decision. Keep in mind that you don’t need to make a decision in haste. The old saying haste makes waste really applies here. Take your time, consider your goals with your investment property and make sure that your prospective tenant meets those goals and that the property and the tenant are a good match.

Remember, follow all Fair Housing laws to avoid discrimination.

If you make a practice out of doing all of these things, you will enjoy more profit, less repairs and most importantly… less stress! Yeaaaa, I really like that part.

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It is my hope that this free tenant screening checklist will help you get a better tenant that will pay rent on time and take care of your investment property. If you have any questions, I would be happy to help if I can. Just leave your comment below.


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