Have a comprehensive Rental Application

When someone applies to you for an apartment they will willingly give you all
the information you ask for. Be sure to take full advantage of this opportunity.
Remember -to get the right answers you must ask the right questions. Besides the basic information such as full name, maiden name, date of birth and
Social Security Number, your rental application should ask for:

  • Their present and two previous addresses along with the landlord and telephone
    number for each address as well as their reason for moving and length of
    time at each address.

  • At least two personal references.

  • Their present and previous employers and length of time at each job.
    Any other sources of income and any debts owed such as child support, car
    payments, credit cards, etc.

  • Ask if they have ever gone to court with a previous landlord.

  • A signed authorization to let you check their credit.

  • Have each adult fill out their own rental application.

  • Verify the basic information while they are still there.

  • Ask the Right Questions

    Talk to the applicant for a few minutes and ask them some important questions:

    Q: "Why are you moving?"
    A: "The landlord is a jerk -he will not fix anything."
           Beware -this indicates potential problems.
    Q: "When do you want to move in?"
    A: "Immediately."
         Beware -a responsible tenant will want to give the current landlord at least a 2-week notice.

    Have a set of requirements and stick with them.
    Here are my minimum requirements:

  • Must have been at their present apartment for at least 8 months. If they are staying
    with friends -watch out! They may have been evicted.
    The same job for at least 6 months. Stability is very important.

  • Call everyone on the application, even their friends. Make sure to ask the right questions. Don't be tempted to give a questionable applicant a break unless you can afford to give them a free apartment.

  • Hold out for the right tenant. They are out there and it's your job to find them.

  • Proper tenant screening can be fun and it's certainly a real eye opener.