What Landlords are Looking for When Screening Tenants

Finding a place to rent at the best of times is difficult, but with the high demand for rentals these days and the limited supply, it is even harder. So, it’s a good idea to know what a potential landlord is looking for, so you can be ready before someone else snaps up the place you want. To help with this, here’s a list of things most landlords will be looking at.


Landlords are going to want to make sure that you will be able to pay the rent. Therefore, they are going to want some proof of your income. They are generally going to want tax documents, pay stubs, or bank statements. When they look at your income, they are going to want to make sure your income is at least three times what the rent is to be reasonably sure you are going to be able to pay it. So, this is something to consider when looking for a place to rent.

Employment History

Landlords often want tenants to sign a 12-month lease. This offers the landlord some income stability. But, it can benefit you as well, giving you a stable residence for a year. However, since, as we discussed earlier, your landlord wants to be sure you can pay the rent, they will be looking to make sure you have a steady employment history. Long gaps in employment or jumping from job to job could hurt.

Credit Score

A potential landlord is sure to want to check your credit score. This will allow a landlord to check your income and payment history. They want someone with a history of making payments on time. Most landlords are probably going to want a minimum credit score of 650, although you may find some willing to take a lower score. But, it may be difficult to find a landlord that will accept a score below 600.


Most any landlord is going to want to check with your previous landlords to find out if you left the place in good condition and paid your rent on time. They will also be looking to see if you had a good relationship with your previous landlord. If you have never rented before, a letter of reference from a teacher or employer may help.

Criminal History

Landlords will want to see that you have no criminal history that they should be concerned with. This includes convictions for offenses that might indicate a threat to other residents and their property. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from considering arrests without a conviction as well as crimes that do not indicate these threats.

Key Takeaways

The competition for rentals is fierce, and if you want to compete and score a place, you will want to consider how you look using these factors. One great way to see how a landlord will see you is by having a tenant background check performed on yourself. This will allow you to see what a landlord will see and correct any mistakes. Plus, you can show the landlord this report and save them some time and money on getting one of their own. This is likely to set you ahead of the competition.

Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.


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