1. Get a Credit Report
There is a wealth of knowledge a landlord can ascertain from reviewing a tenants' credit report: previous employers, late payment history, collection accounts, civil judgments and address history along with a credit score.
2. Review Their Criminal Background History
Looking at a tenants' criminal background check and criminal history is a must for every landlord. There are some free databases that a landlord can use like the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Database. Checking for sexual offenders is the bare minimum, we recommend using a service that checks more than just sexual offenders You can use software like Turbo Tenant to check over 200 million criminal records at once (and at no cost to the landlord).
3. Contact Landlord References
Getting a hold of past landlords will give you a good idea of what a prospective tenant may be like. Make sure that the landlord reference is not a friend or relative. You may even put more weight on a landlord reference that is not a current landlord (some landlords will give good references to bad tenants to get them out of their property).
4. Get a copy of a Government-Issued Photo ID
It is always a good idea to get a copy of a prospective tenants' photo-ID. This helps to eliminate the possibility of dealing with someone with a stolen identity.
More Tips . . .
There are now easy, (and free) online tools that can really help landlords out when it comes to tenant screening. Online software like Turbo Tenant make it easy to follow these tips. You can easily get a copy of a tenants' credit report and criminal history. Tenants can upload copies of a photo-ID with their online application as well as all their past landlord history. Plus it is free to use for landlords and property managers.