How to find and screen your perfect tenant in Tampa FL

a family picture with a golden retriever dog, sitting in the garden, behind their houseWhen it comes to managing a rental property, a poor tenant can prove to be more costly in the long run than an empty home. Finding a qualified tenant in Tampa is not an easy venture and you can’t leave it to chance to decide whether a person will be a reliable tenant.

According to, the art of tenant screening consist of the systematic accumulation of information about a prospect, verification of the information, analysis of the information, and the comparison of the resulting profile to a predetermined standard to determine if the prospect meets the minimum standard.

Predetermined tenant screening standards

Having a set of predetermined screening standards will help you weed out the good renters from the bad. In this article, you will learn how to qualify prospective tenants in order to find the perfect, reliable renter to entrust with your investment.

The Rental Application

Provide all prospective tenants with a rental application form which you can easily find and access online. A well formatted application will include important personal information on the person to help retrieve necessary background checks. Make sure the application provides space for tenant’s full name, date of birth, current address, driver license details and Social Security number. Additionally, there should be room for rental history, employment history, and questions about any criminal or eviction history. Lastly, don’t forget to inform the prospective renter you will be using the information to conduct background and credit checks, and get their approval in writing.

Run a Criminal Background Check

Let’s face it, your neighbors won’t be too happy if you choose a tenant who ends up being a drug dealer or a convicted sex offender. Therefore, before deciding on a potential renter, do a national criminal background check and a nationwide sex offender search. In addition, after September 11th, you may remember terrorist were renting homes in the Florida area for nearly two years. As a result, it’s best to also conduct an international terrorist database search for safe measure.

Obtain Landlord References

Often prospective tenants will provide references from their former landlord. Of course no prospect is going to provide you bad references, so it is important that you contact their former landlord yourself. Ideally you want references from their last two former landlords. This will allow you to find out how they behaved in the past as renters and thus, how they will act with you as well.

Run an Eviction Check

Make sure you check for prior evictions by conducting a nationwide eviction search. If it shows that person has been evicted in the past few years, you really don’t want them as your tenant.

Employment Verification Check

Generally, you want a tenant whose monthly income is at least three times the monthly rent. This will ensure that the person has the means to rent your home. If they’re self-employed, you want to see their tax returns or 1099s to verify their income. If they’re qualifying based on their assets, verify them by checking bank statements and brokerage statement to assure money is there.

Run a Credit Check

In order to find things like active bankruptcy filings, you want to make sure you run a full credit check. Don’t just settle for credit scores either. You want to find someone who shows they are capable of paying their bills on time. Tenants who have an active bankruptcy can include your property in their bankruptcy resulting in months of legal fees and petitions to the bankruptcy court.

By following these guidelines and implementing this strict tenant screening process, you can be sure the person who comes through with flying colors is the perfect tenant for your home.

Contact us or give us a call if we can answer any questions at (813) 875-7474.