Minimum standards for tenants

Hello Everyone,

 I am very new to real estate, I wanted to know if any of you who are landlords and have tenants have some sort of minimum standards that you go by when deciding which applicants you are going to rent your units to?  If so what are some of the items that you look at before accepting them.  Thank You!


I like PropertyManager’s criteria for low income, very well thought out. It filters enough to keep the real trash out but with low income you can filter too much or you will have no tenants. Seems to be a perfect sweetspot:

1. has been evicted in the past 5 years 2. has had their utilities shut off in the past year 3. has had any felony in the past 5 years 4. has had more than 2 misdemeanors in the past 5 years 5. has had ANY drug activity in the past 5 years

In addition, I look at the credit report for evidence of recent credit problems. I do not use a score. I also do an employment check and check with their past 2 landlords. Finally, I judge them based on their appearance and character as Frank said.

Thanks Rich,

I assume that I can find most of that if I do a credit and criminal background check.
  1. You’ll find this out when you check with the local housing court. In CT this is actually freely available online through the state.

  2. This will probably turn up on the credit report. Many utility companies flag your credit if you don’t pay them. You may be able to ask the utility company directly.

  3. Your criminal background check can tell you this. You can get the background check through a paid service or often for free from your local police dept.

  4. See #3

  5. See #3

Ps- I’m going to move this to the landlording forum.

Would you say it is a good idea or bad idea to raise the rent amount to cover utilities that way you know the utilities will be paid and the water or heat isn’t going to be shut off in the middle of winter.

Or will they just abuse the electric and the gas because they don’t get the bill for it?

Read this, lot of good info about owner paid utilities:,32135.0.html

Thanks Rich, I didn’t expect to find it in that thread. :biggrin

For some reason here and another board I go to there has been a lot of chatter about utilities the last few days.

beside the obvious (no evictions, arrest, etc), I want someone with steady job/employment. Self-employed particulatr in the construction biz, un-verifable income, or gaps in employment history pretty much don’t make the cut in my book. Also, don’t want to see 5 figure credit card debt.

As a long time investor/ landlord I agree with all of the above postings. I would like to add one more. If you live in the area of your rental, go to their current address to meet with them. I do this before I have made any decisions, but after all of the apps are in.
I call them and tell them that I need one more doc signed- usually some BS doc- and I am in the area and I will be right by. If they really balk at my coming by I consider that in my decision. If I do get to go by, I always ask to use the bathroom. This is real unprofessional , but I learn quite a bit. Also, make stupid small talk. Compliment their decorating or furniture or something. Try to be inside and have a good look around. Ask if they know how to change filters in the HVAC or
fix a toilet float, etc. They will open up-usually- and you will get a tour. Loads of info. in a tour.
More than that other stuff combined. This is how your rental property will end up looking.

Thanks everyone, I really fo appreciate your info and suggestions. These will all help me get started looking at tenants.