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Landlord Tips on Tenant Screening

Tenant Screening Tips

Provided by Cathy Taylor of Rate-A-Renter

It is very important to use a rental application that requires relevant screening information from your prospective tenant. Processing the information will be your next step.

Here are the rules that help you get the most accurate credit information on your applicant the first time without having to pay for additional reports:

Review all information on the rental application and verify for accuracy. Make sure the first and last name are spelled correctly.

  • Ask if there's a middle initial (particularly important for common names).
  • If the person has a generation indicator such as Jr. or Sr., be sure submit this information when requesting your report.
  • If your applicant is a woman, ask if she has a maiden name and make sure it is also submitted with your credit request.
  • Avoid using nicknames such as Bob instead of Robert as this could result in some credit accounts being missed.
  • Ask for a driverís license to verify correct spellings and prove they are who they say they are. If they carry their social security card with them, verify that number.
  • Make sure if you have a co-applicant that you donít transpose their social security numbers when running the credit report.
  • Verify that the zip code they give you is correct for their address. You can verify zip code information directly with the post office at Be sure you use a full street name including direction. For example: 300 East 67th Road should be entered as 100 W 67 RD. Abbreviate street direction (N, S, E, W) and enter the proper street type (RD, AV, LN). If the applicant has not been at their current address for more than 2 years, always get their previous address. Do not use temporary addresses such as a hotel.

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