Minimum Requirements to pass Screening

7 Replies

What are your minimum requirements set for an applicant to pass when screening possible tenants?  Such as credit score, verifiable income compared to rent amount, clean background, etc. 


Luke Jackson

Hi Luke, 

This really depends on the landlord and their risk tolerance. In my company, we recommend to accept a tenant with a credit score above 560. Most often, I see landlords require 3 X the monthly rent (gross income). Background and eviction; some require it to be completely free, others want nothing within the last X years. It really is what you feel most comfortable with. As long as you are following fair housing and your screening requirements criteria is consistent with each applicant you are fine. 

I'll go ahead and reach out you as well. 

Since we do not charge the screening fee we take a bit more liberty in keeping our criteria generic.  We require 2X income, no evictions, and no level 2 or 3 sex offenders.  The rest is based on our point system.

Our Criteria:

We do not deny housing for race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, sexual orientation, marital status, or familial status.

We do deny housing to individuals:

  • when the application is not complete or accurate
  • where there is not sufficient income/resources to pay rent and live
  • where there is poor prior tenancy: evictions, violations, damage to rental property, poorly handled move outs, amounts are still owing to landlords or utilities.

Criminal activity is at our discretion depending on severity, number of convictions, and how long ago.

@Luke Jackson an absolutely amazing resource for this is the Bigger Pockets Ultimate Guide to Tenant Screening. It outlines what you should be setting for criteria, defines protected classes to ensure you follow fair housing laws and has other great content all piled into one document. There are even infographics included providing a systemized view.

Take a read of it and I am sure it has everything you're looking for!

It is important that you seek the most qualified applicant not simply the one that meets your lowest requirements. If a applicant only meets your minimum requirements keep looking.

@Graeme Ford I agree. The blog post is a great, concise read.

@Luke Jackson I'd also check with your state's landlord tenant laws to see if there are any other requirements or protections you need to consider.


With screening criteria you should have a specific set of criteria for each rental.

Some quick guidelines.

Many people go with a rent to income ratio that their monthly gross income should be 2.5 - 3.0 times the rent. Some people with stricter criteria will do net income because things like child support can gobble up a lot of disposable income.

Credit will vary by situation. You might have one nice rental in a great location and require at least a 700 Credit score. Then have another rental that is much cheaper that require a 620. Typically the aggregate renter is around 649 but this varies widely depending location.

Couple easy things you can do is have a policy on things such as smoking or pets. Again this will be unique to each property.

If you want you can message me and I can share the tenant screening criteria we provide here at RentPrep. It will give you a base to start from.

Hello, I'm relatively new to BiggerPockets, and have read the book on property management by Brandon Turner. To add on to this discussion - when I was listening to the screening section of the aforementioned book this morning (for probably the fourth time), I noticed Brandon mentioned 'minimum screening standards' vs. 'minimum qualification standards' when speaking with PTs (potential tenants).  If you find out a PT doesn't meet your minimum screening standards', and you don't want to show them the property, is that lawful as long as you allow them to fill out an application if they wish.  I'm finding that, as Brandon mentioned in the book, most PTs won't pursue any further once you give them the minimum requirements, but then some do.  Thoughts?  I am just trying to save time where possible.

Updated 7 months ago

Actually, I think I'm going to start a new thread with this one.

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