How do I find good tenants?

Does anyone know how to find good tenants and keep them? What kind of background checks are available?

As far as background checks, and credit reports.

I am in the used car business and pull credit reports veryyyyy often., but you have to have a buisness location, and number to get signed up and its a few hundred bux… but tell them you don’t have much $$ your new… they will give you a big break!

For background checks

Accurint is nice… However they just switched over to a flat rate, in which you have to pay like 50-75 a month flat to pull unlimited reports… Used to it was like .10 cents to 10.00 depending on the reports pulled. There are alot of companies out there, but I have found these to be the best really.


There are many commercial screening services available for landlords. NTN (national tenant network) and others will do the screenings for a reasonable cost. In addition, you can often do a criminal and eviction background for free on your county’s court website.

I would also suggest developing and following written screening criteria for your business.


This is what I do:

  1. Call the last two landlords(noone but me seems to do this in my area)
  2. Call the employer (ALWAYS DO THIS)
  3. Pull a backround check

If you want to do a credit check then you can have them pull one off of and then give it to you. Or any Title company can pull a credit report if they have permission from the tenant. But I don’t personally do this.

Referrals from other good tenants are the best way to find good tenants. Otherwise put ads in the paper and then do step 1-3.

Depending on your clientelle or how messed up you want your place, credit reports are good… People that are intelligent enough to care about their credit often take care of what they buy / rent (more often than not)

For example if they have never payed there power bill, it will be on there. If they have any legal judgements against them, it will be on there as well.

Credit doesn’t guarantee you will get paid, nor does it insure they won’t damage things, its just a good guide to see how responsible they are.

Credit report isn’t 100% either as most renters have poor credit, hence why they are renters. Definitely worth looking at anyway. I would put more weight on things like talking to their last 2 landlords, their boss, and doing a criminal background check.

I have 1-2 tenants move out a month. So I should receive 1-2 calls a month from other landlords asking about my former tenant. I have only received a call one time. Landlords get burned because they are so afraid of vacancies. They get all nervious, like they have to get someone in the unit RIGHT NOW. Unfortunitely they don’t realize that vacancies are better then bad tenants, and you shouldn’t have vacancies if you advertise in local papers.

For sure for sure, I guess this business is alot like the one I am in! Yikes, was really wanting to get away from baby sitting haha… Oh well money is money.

YES very very very correct Iron Range…

Its just like my used car financing business… I used to be like we have to sell cars we HAVE TO…

This was a bad mentality it cost me more money and headaches instead of looking the people over completely, checking references and making a sound decision.

Hold out for the GOLD renters, don’t throw a bunch of bronze in, a Gold renter will stay for a long time and pay well… bronze will move out owing money, and you will be back where you didn’t want to be… Vacant!

Of course there is a nice mix of this… Can’t be to picky, you just have to get an “underwriting” policy, to determine what your terms are to select tenants.

Some people in the car Biz I have talked to use a points system…

Like say 3 years on the job would be like a point for each year, and living at the residence for a year , thats one point… and so many points equal approval… You guys might want to look into devising a point system :slight_smile:

Probably the best service for screening renters is NTN - national tenant network.