Screen Your Tenants Properly

Landlords may own a new property but that is only half the deal done. To find a good tenant is the next is like finding a pearl in the ocean. It can be difficult to get one. If you have a good property management company running the tenant screening, you can rest peacefully knowing that someone will do this important work for you.

Tenant inspection is a detailed process run by the landlords before appointing a good tenant. This ensures that landowners get potential tenants who can go long-term with the lease agreement. If the tenant screening is conducted properly, the landlord gets benefited in many ways. We can discuss the steps for tenant screening but before that lets’ check why it is important to run a tenant screening before finalizing a tenant.

Why screening of tenants is important?

Whenever a tenant comes to rent a property, they try to convince the property owner that he is the eligible candidate for the property. If you don’t check their history and background, then you may get cheated into believing that he is appropriate as a tenant.

If a property owner gets a good renter, he will be sure that his property will be taken care of properly. The property remains undamaged with timely rent. What else does a property owner need? In case the tenants turn out to be negligent, then what?

Damaged property, calls from angry neighbors, unpleasant situations can arise anytime if you have a bad tenant on your property. It is for this reason that most landlords do tenant screening for rental homes in Maryland.

Steps by step guide for tenant screening

Create a picture of your ideal tenant

What important qualities do you want your tenants to have? Necessary features that are essential for a potential renter? You need to ask these questions and much more to yourself before posting a listing online. Prepare a list of questions prior to the screening to get a clear idea of your needs. You can question such as:

  • Will the renter pay rent on time?
  • Can the tenant afford to pay the rent?
  • Does their job provide stability enough to allow them to pay their rents regularly?
  • Will they keep your property carefully?
  • Do they have tarnished background or a criminal record to their name?

It is impossible to get a tenant who is 100% ideal. As such people don’t exist. If the above questions are answered right away by your tenants, then you can go on a long-term rental agreement with them.

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Pre-screening questions

Screening a tenant can be time taking and quite expensive. So, before going for a full screening right away, initially ask the shortlisted tenants a few questions. This will help you segregate the best out of the rest who will fit your idea perfectly. Some of the questions you could ask your tenants for pre-screening are as follows:

  • The date on which they would like to move in.
  • Number of people living in that household
  • Will they like to keep pets at home?
  • How long have the prospects stayed in their current location?
  • Estimated monthly income of the prospect?
  • Will you get a good recommendation from your current landlord?
  • If screening is done, will any arise during a background check?
  • Is there any chance that you have been evicted before?
  • Any recent case of bankruptcies?

You can some of your own questions to clear away your doubts as well. while taking them on rounds it is best to ask them right away. This way you will understand the mindset of the future occupants.

Collection of tenants’ information

To collect information about the tenant you can ask them to fill out the rental application form. The form should have a place for all the basic information including that will prove to be beneficial to run a background check, like for example email id, phone number, security number, etc.

Where they have lived? Your future occupants’ present and last address to get an idea. Getting their last landlord’s contact information will allow you to call for references. Go ahead and ask why they are looking for a new place.

Is it for a bigger and better unit or a cheaper one? Are they shifting due to their jobs or have they been evicted? The answer to these questions will help you determine the kind of person your prospect is.

Members who are going to stay with them. Even though the tenant may have a clear history, but other family members are another thing altogether. Ask how many members are going to stay in your property and run a background check for them as well.

Also, ask them where they work. This will give you a clear idea if the tenant will be able to make monthly payments on time. Take their office contact number so that, you can call them and verify the information.

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Check their history after running a background check. Ask them if they have been filed for bankruptcy or refused to pay the rent. Make sure you get a written consent from the tenant to check their background and credit through the application. Getting their consent is very important due to legal formality.

Asking your potential tenant for consent will demoralize tenants with rough backgrounds and bad credit. So, you will spend less while screening as most of them will leave as soon as you ask for their consent.

Conduct background check

With the help of tenant screening in Maryland, now you need to conduct a background check. While running a background check examine three things.

  • Eviction history
  • Criminal history, and
  • Credit history

Through credit history, you will come to know if the tenant has ever made late payments, own a loan, etc. You can take the help of credit check services that charge the tenants for generating the reports that are then permitted by them for the landowner to go through it.

Check for eviction history, which stays on the tenants’ record for 7 years. This will tell you if the tenant has had any problems with the previous property owners.

Tenant screening services

Once you have segregated and shortlisted the potential tenants, it’s time to call in tenant screening services to help you out. In the market, there are many renter screening services available for the property owner to choose from. You can use these services to review credit score, payment history, thorough background check, etc. Every platform brings something special to the plate. Some of them are as follows:

Pioneer Enterprises, LLC

This platform has all the necessary applications that are needed by the property owners. You can run a casual review or a thorough analysis as you need. A nominal amount is charged either to the landowners or to the property managers.


This is another exciting property management platform that gives access to a full range of services to landlords.  If you want to use a transparent rental platform, you can trust Renturhome to get the job done perfectly. The landlord receives an extensive report on the tenants’ details as soon as it automatically screens the person.

Conduct reference checks

If you are not satisfied with the tenant screening services, you can conduct some investigation on the references provided by the prospects. A few ways to get this done is by:

Also Read:  Questions to Ask in Your Rental Application

Talking to the past landlord

In the application form that you asked your tenant to fill up, you must have the previous landlord’s contact information as a reference. Talking to the previous landlord gives you an idea about the tenants’ behavior and character. Sometimes the tenant doesn’t get evicted but leaves a bad impression on their landlord. Contacting them will tell you if they are a trouble maker or not.

Talk to a senior or the boss

The second reference is the senior of the tenant at their workplace. Check if the tenant has a good work ethic. A person with a great work ethic will be a considerate renter who will take care of your place and have a good payment ethic too.

Face to face talk with the potential renter

Circumstances can force people to do something that may not seem nice on paper. Talking to the contender about any negative that you found through the screening can help you understand the circumstances well.

Analyze and review collected information

Go through the collected information carefully. Review each and every point in detail. The credit score can be 600 or more for a good applicant. Have a close look at the rent to income ratio which should be 30% or less of their income. The criteria that are set by the property owner largely depends upon the quality of the rental property and facilities provided to the tenants.

Respond to applicants

Lastly, inform the applicants if they are selected or not. This will help you clear the name and help the tenant understand where they were lacking. This will help them improve.

In conclusion

Following these steps will assist you in screening your renters perfectly. Letting the right people will aid in maintaining your property in good condition.