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As a prospective landlord, you’re likely already aware of the pitfalls to watch out for when choosing a tenant. You want a decent credit history, solid references, and a willingness to conform to the specifications of the lease. All of these are no-brainers, but the business also has some subjective aspects that are easy to overlook early on in the game. Read on to find out how to find just the right tenant for your rental. Consider the size of the unit. If your rental unit is a five-bedroom home, then a single person will likely not be the right fit for the property. Conversely, a group of six college students looking for off-campus housing should not sign the lease on a one-bedroom loft. In general, try to stick to a maximum of two people per bedroom–unless the unit’s bedrooms are particularly roomy, or if there’s an extra den or study available that could function as an alternate sleeping space. Do a criminal background check. Following is a list of searches that landlords should consider performing when vetting prospective tenants:

  • Federal Court Record Search
  • Statewide Criminal Record Search
  • Department of Corrections Offenders Search
  • Sex Offender Database Search
  • County Criminal Court Search

Bear in mind that in some states, it’s against the law for a landlord to discriminate based on certain prior court convictions; check the local laws for guidelines if you’re unsure. Treat all applicants with equal respect. Speaking of laws, it’s likewise illegal to discriminate against prospective renters based on any of the following:

  • Race, color, or nationality
  • Disability
  • Familial status (“no children allowed” is not acceptable)
  • Religion
  • Gender or sexuality

Bear this in mind when showing the property, and be sure to be kind and respectful at all times. Landlords tend to earn reputations within the rental community, and you’ll want to make sure that yours remains untarnished. Look for all-around stability. Of course, you’ll be chatting with former landlords and performing a credit check, but go a step further. Exactly how many landlords were there? Did the applicant change jobs more than once or twice within the last three years? The answers will tell you a great deal about the person’s prospects as a long-term tenant.