Property Management Blog

How to Screen Tenants | Property Management Advice in Columbus, OH

Mitch Deminski - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Qualifying tenants and finding a good renter is an important part of being a landlord. Today, we’re providing Columbus property management advice on your screening process. In an ideal world, you will find someone who pays rent on time, can afford the place, takes care of the property, commits no crimes while living there, doesn’t bother the neighbors, doesn’t have animals, doesn’t smoke, stays for 10 years, and never calls for repair work. That’s rare, but we’ll get as close as we can to finding that ideal tenant.


The screening process starts with our advertising process. We get over 100 inquiries when we advertise a property. As you can imagine, we have to sift through the individuals quickly to see if we can find a qualified tenant. Our ads are descriptive of the property and who we are looking for. We always include our qualifications in our advertising. It’s probably the most time-consuming task for our leasing agents. We do a lot of training on this topic because we want to have a great experience for owners and tenants. 

Pre-Screening Questions for Tenants

We speak to prospective tenants and ask if they meet all the qualifications we listed in the ad. Sometimes they just see the pretty pictures and price and address. Ask when they want to move in. If their move date is too fast and they’re over-eager, sometimes that’s a red flag and we wonder what they’re running away from. We ask if they have the money to move in right now. When we ask that it’s because we don’t want to wait two or three weeks for someone to gather money. Ask about pets as well. You might allow them or not allow them, but we want to find out if they have them before we show the property. 

Schedule a Showing 

Once we like what we hear, we set up an appointment to show the property. There, we look for clues about their behavior. We ask them to fill out an application and bring proof of income and identification. When they’re willing to provide this, we know they’re serious about the property. If they arrive on time and bring the requested items, we know they are good candidates. At the showing, we look at the condition of their car. Do they have a lot of restaurant bags on the bottom of car, or is it clean? This might tell us how they would take care of the house. Look for dog hair on clothes. If they said they don’t have pets, but you notice a lot of pet hair, that could indicate they are not being truthful. You can tell if they are respectful to the property – are the kids running around, did they stop to wipe off their shoes? 

Screening Reports

Pull their credit and criminal history. Look for them to show up on the sexual predator and eviction lists. We share this information with the property owner because we want your input and approval. We’re looking for good tenant habits. If people take care of their business, we know that they will probably respect your property and your lease. 

For more details on how to screen tenants or anything pertaining to property management in Columbus, OH, please contact us at Solutions for Real Estate.