A rental background check ensures the safety of your property. It ensures your tenants pay on time, and don’t damage property, or become a threat to neighbors. 

Landlords should look into several factors to conduct a thorough tenant screening. We will discuss some of the most important ones in today’s blog. 

So, let’s start with the most basic thing.

Personal Information

The tenant can easily provide personal details to establish accurate identification. Landlords can ask for the following:

  • Name 
  • Current address
  • Phone number
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth

Proof of Income

Many tenants fail to pay rent on time. They may even miss payments for whole months. 

As a result, proof of income goes a long way to ensure peace of mind. A tenant may provide it using paycheck stubs. Tax filings can also be another way to determine income. 

Credit Report

A credit report is one of the best ways to establish the credibility of a renter. The credit score shows how efficient the tenant is at managing their finances. Additionally, landlords can get deep insight into several factors:

  • Current debts
  • Employment history
  • Signs of frauds
  • Missed payments
  • Credit card debts


The information can help you work out if your tenant is likely to pay on time. The way they handle their finances also indicates their ability to repay debts. 

Employment History

A stable career indicates a person is reliable. They are more likely to not miss payments and take care of your property. 

A landlord can call employers to determine the information provided by a tenant. However, they must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) if a screening company does the job. 


Moreover, landlords need to meet the regulations of the Fair Housing Act. 


Criminal History

No landlord or property manager wants to rent their property to a criminal. Therefore, criminal background checks are an integral part of the tenant screening process. 

Things to look out for include:

  • Felony convictions
  • Sex offenses
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Past arrests

However, landlords cannot put a blanket ban on tenants with a criminal history. Additionally, they may have to provide written causes of declining tenants based on police records.

Moreover, they may need to provide evidence to support their causes. 

Rental History

The rental history of a tenant is an excellent way to discover more about them. Landlords can call previous property owners to find out things like:

  • The behavior of the tenant
  • If they missed any payments
  • Complaints from neighbors
  • Damages to the property
  • Any other complaints


Additionally, property managers may want to assess a renter’s eviction history. They may ask previous owners for details. Additionally, credit reports disclose information on evictions. 

Moreover, country court records are useful to research eviction history.

Previously-evicted tenants are more prone to repeat their acts. As a result, eviction history is vital to decide if you want to rent your property to a person.

Public Records

Personal records can provide insights to make an informed decision. They may reveal facts on tax obligations, bankruptcies, and civil lawsuits. 

For example, a credit report lists Chapter 7 bankruptcies for 10 years in case of no repayments. Additionally, Chapter 13 bankruptcies stay on the report for 7 years. 

So, a tenant with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy raises less concern. They may be in a better financial condition to pay rent compared to tenants with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

Moreover, public records reveal civil judgments and tax liens. They tell you more about non-payment of taxes and court-ordered payments. 


A tenant may apply with seemingly excellent references to rent a property. However, the landlord should always verify the references before passing any judgment. They should call the references to learn more about the renter’s character and rental history. 

It is a red flag if you are not able to contact persons who referred the tenant. Additionally, the situation calls for a thorough tenant background check. 

Final Thoughts

Screening your tenants is essential before you rent your property. You should perform all the steps in the tenant background check process to make informed decisions. Landlords should work with a reliable tenant screening agency for accurate checks and data. You also get deep insights compared to researching online or making a few calls.