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Across the United States, the number of people looking to rent or are renting a property has gone up over the last couple of years. But finding the right tenant can be a difficult process. There is no fool-proof screening method, but there are certain factors and tips you can use to find the right person.

Follow Your States Laws

Landlords must treat every prospective tenant equally under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Under the Fair Housing Act, tenants are protected from discrimination against their economic class when it relates to finding housing. The act protects race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Most states also have their own fair housing rules as well as local laws that must be followed. 


It is important to find tenants who are financially responsible and pays their bills on time. The only way to find this out is to run their credit once they’ve submitted their application for the rental property. While getting a credit check does come with a fee, you can have the potential tenant pay the credit check fee. 

Before even running a credit check, you should verify the potential tenants’ income. Ask to see copies of their pay stubs, or directly call their employer to confirm their employment, verify the length of time they’ve been employed, and verify their monthly earnings. Once you’ve verified their employment and income information, you can run their credit history. Do they pay their bills on time or prior evictions, civil judgments, or bankruptcies? A credit report will give you all of the information you need to know if the potential tenant is the right fit.


Once your potential tenant hands in their application, check their prior addresses and their employment history. Are they someone who moves around a lot, or constantly changes jobs? If they have moved a lot in the past, it’s possible that the pattern will likely continue and you will once again have a vacancy at your property. If they also have a spotty employment record, it’s possible that they might not be able to afford to rent your property and you could be dealing with someone missing rent payments or moves out unexpectedly and leaves you with vacant rental properties.

When it comes to finding a tenant, your instincts are going to be the best judge of character. If you do not feel comfortable with a potential tenant, trust your gut and move on to someone else.