Stable Income

Ensure your potential tenant has the ability to pay each month’s rent on time by asking for recent pay stubs. Stable employment is a must-have for your potential tenants. Ask for employment history and confirm longevity with the employer.

Good Credit

Even with a job, your tenant could have other debt that keeps them from paying rent on time. An applicant’s credit report will indicate how timely they are with paying monthly bills. Use Tenant Verification or TenaCheck to check an applicant’s credit score. Ideally, you want your tenant’s income to be roughly three times the monthly rent.


You know as a real estate investor, there’s more to maintaining a rental property than paying the mortgage. You want to select a tenant who will maintain the property and alert you to potential problems before they become emergency issues. From mowing the lawn to keeping up basic maintenance around the house, you want to select a tenant who will keep the property in good order.


Test your applicant’s honesty by calling references on their application and checking their employment status. Require past landlord information so you can check the tenant’s living history and verify how they left previous properties.

Clean Criminal History

Finding a good tenant requires a criminal history check. You will need the tenant’s name and birthday to request a background check. Criminal records are public information, but it can be difficult to track past legal battles because there is no national database. Hiring a screening company can alert you to past criminal activity from different areas where the tenant has lived.


A good tenant is not only respectful of the property, but is also respectful of you as the landlord. Look for signs ahead of signing the applicant to a lease. Good indicators that the applicant is respectful is punctuality, their timeliness in responding to your requests for information and language used in communication. If the applicant is late for a walk-through of the property or has numerous excuses for why they don’t get you pay stubs or permission for a credit check, you can expect the same when it comes to paying the rent and caring for the property.


Drama can be an innate part of some applicant’s personalities. You’ll be able to identify these people readily by their conversation and excuses. The conversation immediately turns negative and you won’t even have to ask about life’s woes; they’re ready to tell you without reason.

Choosing a good tenant is crucial to keeping your rental property in good condition, receiving rent on time and not having to worry about constant phone calls or emails from a worrisome tenant. Implement a credit and background check to ensure your applicant has a good track record, and go with your gut when it comes to choosing a tenant that meshes well with your expectations.