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Advice, tips and trends for property investors

How Good is Your Tenant Selection Criteria?

The temptation to get someone into your vacant property quickly is one every landlord deals with.

Reducing non-revenue producing periods is high on the list of priorities for anyone serious about making a success of their investment property. However, with the rental market growing at its current rate, there are plenty potential tenants to fill the vacancy. The short-term gain of getting rent quickly from a new tenant might be appealing, but being too hasty might create a costly nightmare scenario in the long-term. Setting tenant selection criteria that looks at all facets of a potential tenant is the best way to keep you out of a nightmare situation.


Scenario: Which tenant do you choose from the following?

A. Married couple, husband works steady job and earns three times the rent. Credit score 750.

B. Couple, both working earning three times the rent. Credit score 725.

C. Roommates, both have verifiable income of four times the rent, and willing to pay 1 year in advance. Credit score 680.

How Good is Your Tenant Selection Criteria?  How Good is Your Tenant Selection Criteria?   How Good is Your Tenant Selection Criteria?



Did you choose A?  If so, you are incorrect.  Once a background check was performed it was found the wife has a criminal record and many felonies.  What about couple B? Well they both work temporary job assignments and the 2nd to last landlord said they would NEVER EVER rent to them again because of the damage to the rental property.  So why is C the winner here? Well, their rental references are impeccable, they have been in business together for 10 years but in the economic downturn had to file personal bankruptcy 3 years ago and find it much easier to pay in advance.

 How Good is Your Tenant Selection Criteria?


Don’t underestimate the importance of previous landlord references as they can be a great way to weed out potential nightmare tenants. You should be concerned if tenants omit information that prevents you from contacting previous landlords – or resist the suggestion of providing details and/or references.

Even if you don’t have any problems getting a reference, there is a potential snag you should consider – some landlords might deliberately give a glowing reference to a terrible tenant in an effort to get them out of their property. While relatively rare, it does happen, to avoid this unpleasant pitfall, Real Property Management offices utilize proprietary tenant selection criteria which encompasses full background, credit and criminal history checks along with employment verification and past landlord and personal references to ensure you get the best quality and qualified resident in your property. After all, when it comes to your property investment, you can never be too careful.

The short-term gain of getting rent from your new tenant might be appealing, but a nightmare scenario will make you pay in the long-term. So just remember – you don’t have to take the first person who walks in the door.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.