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The Top 5 Tenant Screening Mistakes Landlords Can’t Afford To Make

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Choosing the wrong tenant is a costly mistake that could mean losing thousands of dollars in unpaid rent, property repairs, and eviction-related expenses. Oftentimes landlords pick the wrong tenant when they skip tenant screening altogether, or make simple errors during their tenant screening process. In some cases, landlords think they’ve adequately screened their applicants when they’re actually missing a big piece of their applicant’s background.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common tenant screening mistakes made by landlords and what you can do to adopt a thorough screening process to help reduce risk and increase your profits.


Many landlords think they can rely on a simple gut check, or they may be in such a rush to fill a vacancy that they accept the first person who puts down a deposit. However, not screening applicants is a major mistake when selecting a new tenant. Failing to be thorough in your tenant screening efforts could cost you in the long run. Spending a little time and effort on screening tenants now could prevent an expensive eviction later.

The Fix

Make screening your top priority. While you might be tempted to rent the property quickly, sacrificing tenant quality may cause costly, time-consuming problems down the road. Your gut instinct may not be correct when meeting a potential tenant for the first time. A better way to determine tenant quality and identify potential risks is through a complete tenant screening. The tenant screening process will help you determine whether an applicant meets your rental criteria. (If you don’t know what your rental criteria is, take a look at our infographic on how to screen a tenant.)

With SmartMove, you can run a tenant credit check and a criminal background check online, in minutes. Which means that you don’t have to wait around with an empty apartment while completing a thorough tenant screening.


The rental applicant’s credit report is an essential component to tenant screening. It gives you a view of the applicant’s credit history, including the amount of debt they currently have, if and how frequently they pay bills late, and whether they have any apartment-related collections against them, among other things. This information gives you a better sense of their ability and likelihood to pay rent on time.

However, in addition to the credit report, there is other information you need to consider to get the whole story on a tenant’s background.


Written By: By Andrea Collatz

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