This article was posted on Tuesday, Jun 01, 2021

We all strive to find good tenants, so here are five signs that an applicant will be a good tenant for your rental property.

When you’re receiving lots of applications for tenant positions at your rental properties, sometimes it can be difficult and overwhelming trying to sift through everything.  After all, with so many applications in front of you, where do you begin?  How do you know which applicants will make good tenants?

There are a few telling signs as to whether or not your applicants will be good tenants.  You just have to know what to look for to easily identify the good from the bad and put your mind at ease.

No. 1:  They Fill Out the Application Properly  

A sign of a good potential tenant is that they properly fill out the application.  That may sound overly simple, but this means that they include the appropriate documents that are asked for and fill out everything correctly.  Completing some simple paperwork properly is a good sign that they’re responsible and reliable, whereas if the applicant can’t even fill out the application correctly or doesn’t provide the appropriate documents, that’s a bad sign, especially in the very beginning stages of the application process.

- Advertisers -

No. 2: They Don’t Move Too Often  

Along with knowing the reason why your applicants want to move, it’s also important to know how often they’ve moved in the past.  One of the main (if not THE main) qualities you should be looking for in a tenant is stability and financial responsibility.  If they haven’t moved around too much in the past, that’s a good indicator that they got along well with their previous landlords and didn’t have anything disruptive happen while they were living there.

No. 3:  They Have Good References

References are a great way to predict how a tenant will behave.  Good references show that a tenant paid on time, didn’t damage the property and stayed in communication with the property manager.  If a reference from a past landlord says that the tenant did thousands of dollars in damage to their last rental, well, obviously, that should be an immediate red flag.  Also, be sure you are getting the reference from a real landlord and not someone posing as a landlord to help the tenant.

No. 4:  A Clean Background Check

During the tenant screening process, of course you’ll want to conduct a background check.  A good tenant will have no past discretions and a clean criminal record.  If they have a history of drug use or brush-ins with the law, chances are it will become a problem you’ll have to deal with, so it’s advised to kindly decline and move right along to the next applicant.  However, some jurisdictions have restrictions around criminal background checks, so be sure to check your local ordinances.

No 5: A Good Credit Report

Don’t skip or underestimate the credit check – it’s a good indicator of the character and payment habits of your applicant.  Neglecting the credit check is the most common mistake landlords make.  Not paying their current bills?  It’s likely they won’t pay the rent.  [Be sure to use AOA’s low-cost and thorough credit and eviction checks!]


Final Thoughts

Finding a good tenant does take some patience, but it’s worth it for the later peace of mind.  Careful tenant screening is one of the most important tasks for a landlord or property manager, but with these specific screening tips, you’ll be on your way to a happy and easy renting experience.


Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords.  The company makes a network of hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties.  Keepe is available in the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego and is coming soon to an area near you.  Reprinted with permission of The, an interactive community of multifamily investors, independent rental home owners, residential property management professionals and other rental housing and real estate professionals. It is the most comprehensive source for news and information for the rental housing industry. Their website features exclusive articles and blogs on real estate investing, apartment market trends, property management best practices, landlord tenant laws, apartment marketing, maintenance and more.