4 Important Steps in the Tenant Screening Process

4 Important Steps in the Tenant Screening Process

It's shocking to know that California has more renters than any other state.

Are you a landlord in California looking to find trustworthy tenants for your rental properties? Using a robust tenant screening strategy is crucial for your business.

What should every landlord know about tenant screening? Read on for four vital tenant screening insights.

1. Doing a Full Tenant Background Check

One of the first and most critical steps in the tenant screening process is conducting a thorough tenant background check. A full background check typically includes the following elements:

Credit History

Review the applicant's credit report to evaluate their financial responsibility. A good credit score often indicates a habit of managing money well. A poor credit score could be a potential tenant red flag.

Criminal History

Do a criminal background check to verify that the applicant doesn't have a history of violent or property-related crimes. This is essential for the safety and wellness of your property and other tenants.

Rental History

Contact the applicant's previous landlords to gather information about their past rental behavior. Were they punctual with rent payments? Did they maintain the property in good condition?

A positive rental history is a sign of quality tenants.

Employment and Income Verification

Confirm the applicant's current employment status and income level. This information ensures they have the financial means to afford the rent.


Collect personal and professional references to gain insights. You'll learn about the applicant's character and reliability.

2. Identifying Tenant Red Flags

While reviewing an applicant's background, it's important to be vigilant for tenant red flags that may indicate potential issues in the future. Identifying these red flags early in the screening process will save you loads of trouble. Some common tenant red flags include:

  • Frequent job changes or large periods of unemployment (an unstable income)
  • Consistently late payments or eviction records in their rental history
  • Negative references from previous landlords or employers
  • Criminal activity, especially violent or property-related offenses
  • Inconsistent or incomplete information on their application

3. Setting Clear Tenant Screening Criteria

Before you begin the tenant screening process, it's essential to establish clear and consistent screening criteria. These criteria should be applied uniformly to all applicants to avoid any accusations of discrimination. Some common screening criteria include:

  • Credit score requirements
  • A monthly income threshold (2.5 to 3 times the monthly rent)
  • A clean criminal history with no violent or property-related offenses
  • Positive rental history, with no prior evictions

4. Use Property Management Services

Do you find the tenant screening process overwhelming or time-consuming? Property management services can find quality tenants. They can do the following:

They can take the stress out of managing your properties and help you find reliable tenants.

You Need an Impeccable Tenant Screening Strategy

Using a robust tenant screening strategy is crucial for finding amazing tenants. Using these screening tricks will improve your rental property business.

Do you need help with tenant screening in the Menifee, California area? Contact PMI Unwarranted to discuss our tenant screening solutions and other incredible property management services. We have over 17 years of experience.