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Stories to Help You Understand the Importance of Tenant Screening

A landlord from Tulsa OK had a problem on recovering his property after a tenant of his broke the lease agreement that they had. This tenant shut him out, refused to leave, and ignored the knocks on the door.

A report was made, and the landlord called the police only to find out that the police has no authority on acting in lease disputes. It was the court he should’ve called for.

Most importantly, he realized that he should have been more careful about whom he allowed into his property.

To remove the bad tenant, an eviction proceeding must be undergone by the landlord. Not only is the process costly, it takes time to be done. 

Here's another real-life renting horror story...

Meanwhile on a similar story, an Airbnb guest also took possession of a property, refused to leave, then declared being a tenant legally entitled to all the protections of local rental ordinances after 30 days. The owner who was shocked filed an eviction action. She went through so much hassle and lost valuable time.

What we can learn from both cases...

Both the bad tenants in the cases are of different circumstances. However, they do have one thing in common: lacking accountabilities. Bad tenants avoid accountability in different ways, that includes falsifying a lot of information about themselves.

Some tenants also look for landlords who are too lenient. Inexperienced landlords are also prone to abuse as the tenant takes advantage of their weakness by breaking the rules.

To avoid all of these, landlords must do a tenant background check. Here are ways a landlord can do to screen potential tenants:

1. Ask the right questions

Be sure to ask questions as a screening process, whether it may be while showing him/her around the property or just by talking it over the phone.

These are questions that you could ask:

  • Why are you moving?
  • How long have you stayed in your current home?
  • How many people will be living with you?
  • Can you give me references from your employer and previous landlord?
  • Have you been evicted in the past?
  • Are you able to pay the security deposit of X amount as you sign the lease?
  • Can I run a credit and background check on you? 

2. Run a credit check

Check your applicant’s credit status to assess a tenant's ability to pay rent. Sites such as can help you acquire a credit report of your applicant.

3. Confirm the tenant applicant's employment and personal information 

Identity theft and fraud are common, which is why you need to make sure who your tenant is really is. A good tenant should have no problems showing his ID. You have the right and also should ask for the tenant’s full name, photo, birthdate, and SSN.

On making sure that the person is employed, contact his employer and ask questions regarding his employment status such as whether he is full-time/part-time. You can also take this opportunity to confirm his identity.

4. Contact the previous landlord

This allows you to gather feedback on your applicant so you get an idea about what kind of tenant he will be while living on your property.


Landlording is tricky business, but you can be two steps ahead if you're smarter than those who try to outsmart you. Take information gathering as a must and be familiar with the law. The best way to protect your business is to have the legalities kept in your favor.

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