To realize the goals that you have set for your real estate investment, you will want to secure tenants within the shortest time possible. However, the need for returns should not result in complacency during the screening and selection process.

What qualities should a landlord look for and what checks should be included in an initial or renewal screening process? The team from Taylor Street Property Management has the answers to these questions and more. After reading this article, you will have the information to help you select the best tenants that Phoenix has to offer!

Identify the ‘Right’ Tenant

The quality of the tenant will determine the success of your investment. After all, the tenant will call your property ‘home’ and have the right to use the amenities on the property. In the selection of the right tenant, there are a few attributes that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Employment Stability
  • Ability to pay rent (and in full)
  • Proven record of timely rental payments
  • Clean criminal background
  • A good character (someone who will get along with other tenants and neighbors)

These traits or attributes will guarantee you a comfortable property ownership and leasing experience in Phoenix. But how do you identify these traits and select such a tenant? You must implement the following:

screening tenants thoroughly

Conduct Pre-Screenings

This is the first step in the screening process. Some of the tried and proven steps in pre-screening involve:

  • Creating an ad with the rental property pre-requisites
  • Having a face-to-face with the potential tenant during the property showing
  • Asking vital questions

In this stage, you can set up the above procedures that will help you cut down the screening time by identifying warning signs early enough.

Use a Rental Application

The drafting and administration of a rental application is a critical step in the screening process. It allows you as the landlord to collect vital information from potential renters, detailing their rental history, income, employment status, and other pertinent information.

The typical rental application requests the following information:

  • Contact information (phone number, email, and fax- if applicable)
  • Rental history. This includes the prior and current addresses. Landlord’s name and contacts should also be included.
  • Income and employment information
  • Authorization from the renter to perform a background check

One of the warning signs you should look out for is an incomplete rental application. This possibly shows that the renter has something to hide. What’s more, as a rule of thumb, do not accept an application where the renter doesn’t authorize you to perform a background check.

Conduct Employment and Income Checks

A potential renter should have an income level that is two to three times your asking rent. This income level signifies that they can pay rent promptly and in full.

conduct employment checks on prospects

How can you make inquiries on a renter’s employment and income? And what do you do about the possibility of them using fake references in their application? Dealing with such scams requires a certain level of experience in the industry. That’s why we recommend you contact the leading experts in the Phoenix real estate market.

Taylor Street Property Management has over 100 years of combined experience dealing with single-family, multi-family rentals, and condominiums in the area. When it comes to delivering quality service, there is no better team in Phoenix, Arizona.

Verify Rental History

Talking to prior landlords is an essential step that should not be skipped. You will get to know more about the character of the tenant, how they relate with other neighbors, and whether they pay their rent on time and in full.

Similar to the scenario painted above, you can find a renter who has put a friend or family member down as a landlord reference? How do you circumvent such an issue? A simple but effective method that we use is asking the ‘referenced’ landlord some pertinent questions that any landlord would know. This could be either on tax issues or acquisition of the property.

Analyze Credit Reports

You wouldn’t want to rent your space to a tenant who has outstanding debt. With their income information, you can check their credit score. Any score of 680 or higher is acceptable as it bodes well for their future financial situation.

credit checks and reports

Do Background Checks

A screening process also includes running a person’s social security number through criminal record websites and performing sex offender checks.

Inform Renters of Acceptance or Rejection

Once you have implemented the above steps, you will have verifiable grounds on whether to accept or deny a tenant. Should you choose to accept them, the next step would be setting up a date for the signing of the lease agreement.

If for one reason or another you have declined their application, you must do this officially and in writing. You should also be aware that any rejection must be in line with the provisions of the Fair Housing Laws.

Hire a Property Management Company

If you lack certain experience or tools, it may be wise to hire the services of a professional property manager or management firm.

For reliable and comprehensive property management solutions, landlords in Phoenix Arizona trust the experienced team from Taylor Street Property Management. We have the experience and tools to offer exceptional services at affordable prices.


Performing a thorough tenant screening will help protect you and your investment. That said, because there are many steps involved, it may be in your best interest to hire professional help.

Need a comprehensive tenant screening solution for your property? We at Taylor Street Property Management guarantee to only place the best tenants that Phoenix has to offer. Get in touch with us today for more information on the same and on our property management services.