How to Screen Tenants For A Rental Property: 2024 Guide

Pluxa Partners

December 12, 2023

how to screen tenants
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Key Takeaways:

  • Know all the important 6 steps to screen tenants for a rental property to filter out the best.
  • Get all the insights that can help you simplify the screening of tenants for your rental property.

Real Property Management found that nearly 50% of DIY landlords don’t conduct criminal background checks.

But why is it important?

Screening tenants can help you avoid future complications and ensure you keep your property safe and attractive.

So, what are the steps to screen tenants for rental property?

From knowing your requirements to using professional software for automatic background and credit checks, there are multiple steps you must follow. Let’s discuss them one by one.

6 Steps to Screen Your Tenants for a Rental Property

We have finalised six simple tenant screening steps to help you choose the right individual for your rental property.

1. Know your requirements

Before starting the screening test, you must be clear about your rental requirements, which can help you build a strong base.

Once you know your requirements, you can further analyse the potential tenants. Here are the few checks that most landlords include in their screening process:

  • Credit history
  • Evictions
  • Criminal history
  • Income
  • Landlord and employment history references

You can adjust your screening requirements based on your thought process of letting out your property to tenants.

For example, as payment concerns are rising for independent landlords, you can set a high-income requirement for prospective tenants. 

Or you might have found that renters with higher credit scores make the best tenants. So, you can set a requirement for a credit score above 700.

If we boil it down, you have to decide where to set the thresholds for your application. But without finalising the foundation, you shouldn’t proceed with the tenant-screening process.

2. Analyse your marketing ads

Once sorted with the rental criteria, you must mention your requirements in the ads and applications. 

It can help you filter out potential prospects and ensure only the right fit can contact you for renting the property. Once the prospective tenants are clear about the thresholds, it improves the enquiry quality by automatically repelling those types of tenants that you don’t want.

The pre-screening process has the potential to save you time as you’ll only have a limited number of applications to process from serious candidates. Here are a few of the rental criteria you can ask in your ads and applications:

  • Pet information
  • Smoking information
  • Criminal background
  • References
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Current employer and monthly income
  • Current address and reason for leaving
  • Basic contact information (name, current address, phone number, date of birth)

3. Don’t forget the credit and background checks

Once half of your screening task is completed, it’s time to run background and credit checks. You can avoid the manual process and save time by using professional tenant-screening software available in the market. 

Tenant-screening software returns all of the information you need within a few clicks, which can improve your accuracy and avoid all the hassles. You can extract comprehensive reports covering an applicant’s rental, financial, and criminal history.

For example, tools like SmartMove can predict evictions 15% more effectively than standard credit reports, which can help you get better results in less time for a prospective tenant.

4. Verify employment and rental

If your applicant passes the background and credit check threshold, you can connect with their employer and even their previous landlords to get a solid confirmation about them.

Don’t bypass this step even if you have completed the automated confirmation of the previous step. 

This is because sometimes, the compiled reports from screening companies don’t provide the complete picture that you need to complete your selection process for a tenant. 

For example, if you contact the employer, you can know about their on-work behaviour. Or their previous landlord can share details about their behaviour as a tenant. All this information might not always be available with just using the automated software.

Also Read: What to Do When Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent

5. Speak with your prospective tenants

Before making the final decision, you must personally communicate with prospective tenants. It can help you make the final confirmation about the tenant and ensure you make the right decision. 

You don’t want to sign a contract with someone you wouldn’t have rented to if you met them in person. The meeting is to break the ice, analyse your prospect, and then carefuly decide if they are the right fit for your rental property.

You can also get some additional context about the parts you weren’t even aware of. 

For example, your tenant may have an undesirable point in their application, but they can logically explain their point, which can help you change your initial perspective.

6. Make the final call

Once you have done your homework, it’s time to decide on the application. If your prospective tenant has made it till the end of your screening process, they are almost fine to choose as tenants for your rental property. 

You can proceed with the final paperwork, as you’ve already been very stringent to choose them through the five steps above.

Well, to some, doing this whole process of filtering and screening can seem overwhelming and daunting.

If that’s the case with you, or you would just want experts to do this for you, you can outsource the entire process to professionals.

That’s where you can choose Pluxa Apartments.

Choose Pluxa Apartments for Your Serviced Accommodation Requirements

At Pluxa Apartments, we offer property management services to help you escape the hassles of managing your apartment.

From marketing to guest screening to maintenance, our support team can help you ensure you get not just high-quality tenant applications, but a lot more.

So, what’s making you wait?

Experience hassle-free property management today.


1. What are the steps to screen a tenant?

Screening a tenant involves six steps:

  • Setting up your requirements
  • Conducting pre-screening
  • Running credit and background checks
  • Verifying employment and rental references
  • Speaking to prospective tenants personally
  • Making the final call

2. What documents should we ask from tenants in the UK?

When renting out a property in the UK, you must ensure that your tenants have the legal right to rent. You must verify all tenants aged 18 and over, regardless of whether they are named on the tenancy agreement. Here are the additional documents:

  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit
  • Residence Card or Document
  • Immigration Status Document
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Registration as a British Citizen

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