Best place to find Renters and Experienced Lanlord recomendations

I am wondering what you seasoned landlords use to find the best renters? I have placed my property on the MLS and use Craigslist, My realtor tells me I am getting a lot of traffic but no applications. Where are some other places that you guys find renters? I have priced my rental what the market is telling me as a little below rental rates (1100-1200, asking 1000). Also can anyone list some recomendations for only my second rental? I am looking for a good background company, and a smooth process to save me headaches down the road? I have one rental now but it is somehwhat of a friend who rents and, my first true Rental I want to get right. I know there are some savy veterans out there with a proven plan, would you mind sharing? Thanks in advance for the support.

I use Craigslist and screen hard.

I can’t think of any reason to list on the MLS. That’s where buyers look, not renters.

You can screen yourself or take your chances. I haven’t been too impressed with what I’ve seen of screening companies and the majority of property managers simply do not care.

Decent renters with income and good track records are thin on the ground right now, so you are going to have to work to get a reliable tenant.

Don’t believe anything that any applicant tells you. Double check everything, including the phone numbers they give you.

Can you tell me what screening service you use. Also where do you get your rental agreements and are there any special clauses or cirumstances to be prepared for? My first renter/aquantance asked who replaces the air filters, I told her she does, just like she is responsible for yard maintenenace and trash. Do I need an agreement that would include minute details like this? I also received a notice from the city for an old fridge she left out on the side of the yard, that was visible, this should probably be included in a contract I am thinking?

We’re on the HUD list so we routinely get calls from people looking for houses. That pretty much eliminates our need for advertising. Otherwise, we’ve put a sign in the front yard with a paper in an infotube. We’ve also advertised in the cheap local want-ad paper. We screen everyone thru the county sheriff’s dept. We do income verification thru the applicant’s employer. So we screen everyone ourselves.
Yes you need to have things in the lease like who takes care of what. Our lease explicitly states the tenant is responsible for all yard maintenance and all normal household maintenance like replacing furnace filters, smoke detector batteries, etc.

You are asking $1000 for your rental? No, you need to ask $995! That’s a way lower number in a buyer’s eye. Lots of studies have been done on that. $995 will get it rented.


I’ve been at this a long time. I don’t do landlording like very many others do.

Briefly, I was in a position where I either found a way to get and keep higher than market rents, or lose the family’s rental portfolio en masse back in 1981 when we were left stuck with a dozen negative cash flowing rentals after my dad’s death.

I used to obsess over credit checks, residence histories, and income verifications. Well, with 90% of the applicants disqualifying themselves in one way or another and my need to overcome negative cash flow, I began implementing the “rent-a-center” method of renting houses and apartments. That is, I found and mined the niche of credit challenged prospects and learned how to make extra money with bigger deposits and higher rents, and longer leases.

Here is my policy:

Before I list it, let me say that I (my managers) take information from the prospects personally, which gives me the opportunity to naturally and elegantly ask questions about credit, residence history, job history, income, references, etc. I don’t hand out applications to be completed off site, nor do I accept them as a rule. I’ve never been so impressed by an applicant that got all their lies neatly coordinated on paper for me to approve.

Okay, here’s my list…

  1. I never turn down an applicant. Ask me about my 9-month discrimination investigation by the Federal government that I finally won.
  2. If my prospect doesn’t have a residence history, I want a deposit that equals at least 3x’s the rental amount and a 24-month lease agreement. This is illegal in my state, but I ask anyway, because it’s a fantastic leverage for getting a tenant out who later can’t pay me rent, and needs money to move (while I still get paid what’s due me).
  3. If my prospect doesn’t have a job history, I want a co-signer with good credit, a job history, preferably owns a home, and I ask for more rent (about five to ten percent over retail) and a 2-year lease agreement.
  4. If my prospect has no residency or job history I want the higher deposit, higher rent, co-signer and a 24-month lease.
  1. Credit checks are to confirm what the prospect reveals in the interview, not to uncover secrets.

I have never had a policy of checking criminal backgrounds. Criminals never jump my hoops, so I guess they naturally disqualify themselves.

This policy has served me 99% hiccup free for the past 18 years and allowed me to make more money with less turnover. It has also kept me from having to disqualify prospects and put myself at risk for charges of discrimination, or worse.

The downside…? It takes at least a month or two for my credit/job challenged renters to learn that the rent’s due on the first, not the second; that there’s no grace period; that my late fees are steep …and that I enforce them.

Unfortunately, most prospects don’t want to jump my hoops, so I often have to settle for the applicants with better credit, jobs and residence histories …who don’t give me the Trifecta of higher rents, bigger deposits, and longer leases.

That’s it for me.

In my niche market the landlords don’t ask for the last months rent, just first and deposit.
I weed out people and get around the illegal deposit by asking for the last month’s rent for people with higher risk. (1.5 times rent is max in IL if I remember correctly)
I’ve only declined tennancy to one person, who thought they could afford it with 75% of their monthly income going to rent. (The rest I’ve asked for additional things like co-signers, extra deposit etc-they went elsewhere)

Great!!! Very Helpful info. Furnished I did as you said and I got about 5 applications over the weekend. Do any of you have an ironclad Rental agreement you can share? Maybe PM me. Also I used to do a preliminary background on each of the potentials as well as the co-tennants. Has anyone else used this? It seemed very helpful and Arizona seems to be very good at finding public records.

[b]Visit the manager of a small apartment building and see if they would let you have a copy of theirs. Maybe give them ten dollars for their effort.

Or become a member of the local apartment association. They will have “iron clad” lease agreements. You can even ask someone at a small property management company for a copy they use.

I’ve received a sales package from a management company that included a copy of their rental agreement.

You can even get some state specific leases and forms from USLEGALFORMS(dot)com. This is an excellent source for up to date leases, etc. They go for $25 and up.[/b]

Local paper and internet. Just filter hard