How to screen grad students?

4 Replies


I have a property that I am prepared to start renting. I read the step by step sticky about screening and prequalifying and it seemed to be pretty straight forward, that is until I got a bunch of college students responding to my rent ad on Craigslist. I have mostly received emails from grad students, which I'm guessing is much better than undergrads, but I live in New York where it seems you can get stuck with bad tenants for awhile if they don't pay. 

My question is how do I screen these tenants? I assume most will not be grossing 3x the rent if they are still in school. It seems most want  live with 2 roomates (as it's a 3 bedroom rental). So should I require that each grosses at least 1 months rent? Should I have parents cosign?

Thanks in advance.

@Jonathan Reizovic

Grad students do tend to be better tenants than undergrads, but that's a generalization.  My personal opinion is that it depends on what their graduate studies are in.  If they are doing technical &/or research, legal or medical studies, I believe they make great tenants.  However, if they are simply getting their MBA's, not so much.  Again, a generalization and just my opinion.  But, we intend to make College Station (home of Texas A&M) one of our primary B&H targets, and will be targeting grad students, and we will asking what their area of study is.

If there are 3 tenants, then you should be processing 3 separate applications.  A lot of the rentals in DFW require an application for every occupant over 18.  I would avoid qualifying them separately.  Personally, I would qualify the rental the same way I would if a married couple was using both incomes to qualify.  That way they understand that if one defaults or moves the others are going to either have to pay the whole or find a new roommate.  Positive peer pressure at work!  Also, it is completely reasonable to require a cosigner, if the numbers are tight.  

Anyway...that's what I would do here in Texas.  NY has some really funky rental laws, so proceed accordingly.  I love Texas!

Hi @Jonathan Reizovic , how have you been targeting grad students? Do you advertise on campus? 


I've heard grad students make great renters especially international ones. In screening, it's basically checking for landlord history (current and prior), income, criminal and credit. A person's credit history will tell you a lot. Good luck! 

@Jonathan Reizovic   I screen grad student using a mixture o:f
1) proof of current enrollment
2) reviewing financial aid and sources of income
3) staying on a month to month agreement

You also might consider placing digital locks on bedroom doors to give each roommate a sense of privacy. This will cut off numerous problems.

Also, most conflicts revolve  around bathroom and kitchen tidiness. Try getting them to agree on maid service that you can mark up on.

Best to you.

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