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If you own a rental property, filling vacancies can sometimes feel like a crapshoot.

Every lease up has you rolling the dice hoping that your new tenant will pay rent on time, not cause disturbances, or even worse damage your property.

Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy.

Even the most experienced rental property owners feel the stress of a looming vacancy and anxiety from the potential loss of rental income.

The pressure to find qualified tenants and get your property rented fast can cloud your decision making process.

Here are a couple of things you can do to dramatically reduce the risk of renting to unqualified tenants who may not pay rent on time, cause disturbances, or worse damage your property.

Have an Application Screening Process


The most basic step in the rental process is often bypassed or limited to the first free rental application found on Google.  While their are many free applications to choose from, a strong rental application should be customized requesting pertinent information and preferably written by attorneys. 

In addition, an application fee in compliance with California Civil Code §1950.6 should be charged to each applicant for the actual cost associated with pulling their credit report and processing their application.

  • Require all tenants residing over the age of 18 to complete a rental application.
  • Make sure a permission clause is included in the application, allowing for verification of information from 3rd parties. (This clause should be signed by applicants)
  • Actually verify the submitted information! Yes, call and verify!


Establish a Qualification Process

Qualifying Criteria

Establishing a strong qualification process that’s in compliance with local, state, and Federal Fair Housing Laws will allow you to weigh important information such as employment status and income, previous residential history, and FICO scores.

  • Set an income multiple
  • Have a criteria regarding past evictions and delinquent rent payments
  • Establish a credit history criteria


Establishing a leasing criteria and consistently implementing these measures to all rental applicants serves as good practice and will inevitably increase the overall quality of resident for your rental properties.

Related Article3 Things You Can Ask Your Tenants | Fair Housing Violations

There’s no guarantee that anyone is going to be a perfect tenant, but implementing an application and qualification process will help mitigate risk.

These two steps are just many in the long line of systems and procedures required to minimize the stress and maximize the return on investment (ROI) of owning rental property.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we provide Worry Free property management for owners just like you who would rather cash checks than deal with the myriad of local, state, and federal tenant-landlord laws, contact our office today for your Free Rental Analysis.


We hope you enjoyed reading How To Get Better Tenants.

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Written by Salvatore Friscia, owner of San Diego Premier Property Management a full service residential property management company offering Worry Free property management to the greater San Diego area since 2004.

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