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How we Screen Tenants for our Owners

How we Screen Tenants for our Owners

One of the most important tasks that we do for our owners as property managers is screen potential tenants against a pre-determined list of criteria.

Why is this task so important?  Several reasons. 

First, only allowing qualified tenants to rent your property can save you as the owner from significant problems later.  A poorly qualified tenant can mistreat the property, pay rent late or even not pay rent at all; leading to a time consuming and costly eviction.  

I learned this process 18 years ago when I was a brand new landlord myself.  I was self-managing the property, trying to save money by not paying a property manager.  I met a potential tenant at the property, he loved it and from what he told me he sounded qualified. I trusted him on his word without verifying him or running him through any significant screening process.  Well, after a several months of late payments, lots of broken promises, a lengthy eviction process and several stolen appliances later….I learned the hard way that you have to have a systematic screening process if you’re going to be a successful landlord.  (Happy to end to the story…I didn’t let that deter me from being a landlord, I just used a systematic screening process going forward!)

Second, a systematic tenant screening process is critical to avoid running afoul of any of the Fair Housing laws that were created in order to provide a level playing field for all potential tenants. Landlords can easily make a mistake in their advertising or their tenant screening process that negatively affects one of the protected classes.  This can cause the landlord potential litigation and fines.  A consistent process that treats every applicant equally is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the law.

Tenant Screening with Focus Real Estate Property Management:

We require the following information from every applicant that will live in the home that is 18 years or older:

Photo ID to verify identity.

Completed online application and submittal of private information via our secure portal (no back and forth on email with personal information, etc!)

Income verification. Documented pre-tax income must be at least 2x the rental rate. 

Credit report check. 650+ credit score required. 

Employment verification.

Eviction history check.

Criminal/background check.

Rental reference check.

Pet screening on all tenant’s pets.

Once all of these checks above are completed we review the application and notify the approved tenant, as well as any other declined applicants, in writing.

Our goal in our tenant screening process is to create a clear, consistent process that treats everyone fairly.  

Can we with 100% accuracy select perfect tenants?  Of course not (no one can), but the screening process will greatly reduce the risk of problem tenants.  On the rare chance that we do place a tenant in a property that doesn’t work out we have several guarantees that benefit our owners.  You can learn more about our “Leasing Guarantee” and our “Eviction Guarantee”, both in place for the benefit of our owners, on our Guarantee page

If you have questions about our tenant screening process or to potentially hire us to manage your rental property please set up a 15 minute chat using the button below or email me any time at

Schedule a Meeting with Joe

Joe Phillips

Managing Broker

Focus Real Estate Property Management

(720) 299-1730