Chicago Property Management Experts

We take the stress out of managing your investment.

Chicago Property Management Blog

Finding the Ideal Tenant: What to Look For in a Rental Applicant

Preston Letts - Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Property Management Blog

Are you trying to fill a vacancy in one of your investment properties?

In 2021, finding tenants isn't the problem. There are plenty of people who are ready and willing to rent your property so long as the price is right. But how can you choose the right rental applicant to accept? 

Parsing through rental applications is tedious. They often all look the same before you go through and screen each potential tenant. Do you know what to screen for?

We're here to help. Keep reading to learn everything that you should look for during the tenant screening process.


As a landlord, you want tenants who can afford your rental long-term. While things happen from time to time, you can get a pretty good gauge of which applicants will be good fits if you make this the first thing on your tenant checklist.

There are a few parts to this. First, it never hurts to check credit. Keep in mind that not all people (especially if they're young) have a long credit history, so while this is a factor, it shouldn't be the only one.

You should also get proof of income from your applicants. Most of the time, paystubs are enough. Sometimes, though, you can ask for a bank statement or one of several other types of proof of income

Criminal Background

Do you run a criminal background check when you bring in a new tenant?

Many people with criminal backgrounds have already changed their ways and gone through the criminal justice system, making them great candidates for your rental property. That said, you may want to look out for people who have sold drugs or former sex offenders for the safety of your building.

Depending on your area, there may be restrictions on who you're allowed to disallow at your property based on their criminal background. This is part of the Fair Housing Act. If you're unsure, seek a professional for help so you don't run into any legal trouble. 

Rental Background

Most landlords ask tenants about their rental history. 

For younger tenants, this isn't always viable. After all, many people are renting for the first time (or they've only had one previous landlord). Make sure that you talk to applicants about their situation.

Talk to them about their eviction history and consider getting contact information for previous landlords (if any). A tenant with a history of evictions may be a red flag. 

A tenant with a spotless rental history should be a safe choice for your rental property.

Find the Perfect Rental Applicant Today

The right rental applicant is somewhere in that pile of applications. Do you know how to find them? Use this tenant checklist to find the perfect new addition to your rental property.

Being a landlord to several properties in Indianapolis can be a lot of work, especially if you already have a day job. Why not hire someone to help take some of the load off of your shoulders? 

At Homeriver Group, our experienced property management professionals want to help you out. Contact us to learn what we can do for you.