How to Find, Screen, and Select Quality Tenants

Finding tenants who pay rent on time and take care of your property is the key to making money on your rental. In this article, we’ll provide step-by-step advice to help you find, screen, and select quality tenants.  

Find Tenants

If you have an upcoming vacancy, then you’re likely worried about how to find tenants. Fortunately, there are free, easy tools to help you attract the right tenants. The best way to reach as many tenants as possible is to list your property online:

  • Most tenants search online for their rentals
  • With advanced search options, you’re more likely to be matched with a tenant who wants a property exactly like yours
  • You don’t have to sacrifice your first month’s rent or any fees — it’s completely free to list online

Screen Tenants

Tenants will reach out to you directly from your listing. You should follow up with a quick phone call to ask pre-screening questions:

  • Why are you moving?
  • What is your current living situation?
  • When are you looking to move in?
  • The security deposit is $X. Are you comfortable with that deposit amount?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Will you have roommates?

If all the answers sound good, the next step is to set up a property showing. We recommend scheduling individual showings with each prospective tenant. This helps you get to know each tenant in more depth and you’re more likely to remember details about them.

Assuming the showing goes well, the next step is to provide your rental application. We recommend requiring online rental applications. It’s easy for your applicants to fill out and you can request the application with all the reports you’ll need, including a:

  • Credit report to see how the tenant has treated creditors and their finances
  • Tenant background check to find out how they treat their neighbors
  • Eviction report to find out how they treated prior landlords

Select The Right Tenants

Once you’ve reviewed your prospective tenants’ applications and reports, the next step is deciding who you’d like to rent to.

Here are a few reasons a landlord should deny a tenant:

  • The tenant’s income isn’t at least 3x the rent price
  • The tenant has too many financial obligations and therefore cannot afford the rent price
  • The tenant has a credit score below 500
  • The tenant smokes or has a pet and this goes against the landlord’s rules
  • The tenant has a violent criminal history
  • The tenant has a prior eviction

If you find a tenant who can afford your rent price, can move in on your availability date, and who matches all of your other criteria, then you’re all set to send an acceptance letter. You can email your tenant to let them know the property is still available and you’d like to rent to them.

It’s helpful to provide some instructions for the tenant:

  1. The next step is signing the lease (be sure to provide a timeline for when you’ll send the lease over and when you expect him or her to sign)
  2. Confirm the move-in date
  3. Mention the agreed upon rent price and any deposits or fees

Next Steps

Congrats, you’ve found the right tenant for your property who can pay rent on time and will take care of your property. The next step is making it official. Similar to listing your property and screening tenants, we recommend signing a lease online which is easy with a tool like Avail. Learn more below.

About Avail

Until now, landlords with fewer than 10 units haven’t had access to online tools designed specifically for them. Avail is an intuitive app that helps you advertise vacant units, request rental applications and credit reports, sign leases, and collect rent — all online. Today, 70,000 landlords use Avail because it’s the only end-to-end platform that helps you scale from beginner to professional with tools, support, and education.