Question about Screening possible Renters.

Okay… Here is the “deal”. I am about to make an offer on a 4plex that to me looks like a great opportunity. I, along with my “can do it all fixer up wise” friend will be renovating the 2 main Apts.
Any ideas about screening would be renters. I do not want to pay $300.00 bucks on someones course. Just a good book or…some advice would be great.
It is predominately a college age area. The 4 plex is within 2 miles of the University of Louisville.

Thanks anyone with any answers…


Of course I would also need to know where to find lease agreements etc… But my plan is to fix the place up, get some renters then Sell it and move on… This property is way below market value according to the comps…

The library has many good titles; “An Idiots Guide to Making Money with Rental Properties” is a very good overview. They suggest doing a complete credit and criminal check and always always check the LAST ( not current) landlords reference for prospects. A current landlord faced with a less than desirable tenant may say anything to get them out.
Good luck!

As your post mentions that you are in a college town:

Find out how many unrelated occupants you can have per unit - some towns have ordinances.

Be sure to have all students in a unit sign a lease and have all students have a parent cosigner. Then if the tenant flakes out, the parents will have to pay the rent.

Also you might want to look into taking credit cards then the students or the parents can charge rent and earn miles or dollars back or something - and you can set them up on automatic charges to be sure you always get your rents.

I would check to see if there is a landlord group in your town as well. Many times when you join a local landlord group, they will provide you with a copy of the local landlord tenant law and local contracts that have been tried in court.

Another idea as you are renovating is to keep your target tenants in mind so you can get top rents and rent fast - for example if you are aiming for the studen tenant, you may want to include cable and highspeed internet service in each unit - then all they need to do is plug in.

You can get tenant information using National Tenant Network NTN In Houston they charge $30 for a complete research. You can pay as little as $9.00 for just credit and criminal. I charge my prospective tenants a non refundable $30 application fee and give that to NTN for a check out which includes rental history, reference checks including job and income verification, a credit and criminal check. They give you a nice report which includes a comparison of your rent prices versus their income to see if they can afford that rent. If these are college kids, you may not get the information you want from the full NTN service since they may be moving from mom and dad’s to your place. There may only be need for credit and criminal.

I got my lease from a realtor that is the one issued indorsed by the Texas Board of Realtors. You can find a lease in any office supply store.

My opinion is that you need to be fair, honest and don’t discriminate. Unless of course you want to deal with Fair Housing (and they have excellent testers).

Ask your oher tenants if they know anyone I learned they kinda band together also put up ads at the college soon! you wll find in college towns moms and pops will fork the bill! so the q&a period is short! Also I would recommend Freshman if they don’t have to live in dorms due to the fact the will be there for four years less chance of them moving for awhile! Robb

one more idea for a new landlord - go to and sign up for his free newsletter that comes via email. This usually has several great landlording tips contributed by his readers and many will fit your situation.