There are many good suggestions here with respect to screening tenants and stories from tenants who have lost their homes, have a bad credit history but are good tenants.
Tenant screening is a multifaceted process that should be seen as being fair to the tenant and yet still protects the landlord.
So In keeping with the Question...How can you find good tenants?
advocates that landlords/property managers make tenant worthiness as much a part of their screening criteria as credit worthiness.
As noted in some of the comments here... there are valid reasons why some Individual(s) credit history has been negatively impacted. . e.g. lost a house during the housing crash But there are many more scenarios where Individuals have bad credit but are good tenants.
So how does a landlord determine tenant history? Call current and previous landlord to determine rent pay habits. Was rent paid on time? Was all rent paid upon lease expiration? Any damage to rental? Would you rent to him/her/them again?
Bad or high risk tenants use landlords/property managers as a revolving line of credit, they never pay rent, are hard to evict, do not suffer any consequences and carry on to the next landlord. So in addition to obtaining a consumer credit report, you had better make some phone calls.
This piece of due diligence along with a credit report should prevent or at least minimize of rental income loss. TIP: Compare personal information on credit report to personal information on rental application. Does it match? Are all addresses listed on rental app? Look at some photo ID such as a D.L.s as well and compare information on it to rental app. Does it match?
The e-guides noted below provide valuable tips & advice.
Get a FREE landlord e-guide and a FREE tenants e-guide to renting simply by emailing email@example.com and requesting same. No promo involved. There are links in the e-guide to above noted website, which is all the promo you will see/get.
A couple of good educational websites for landlords & tenants are http://www.tenantsinfo.com
Hope this helps out. Don't forget Landlords need tenants and vice versa. Most tenants are good tenants, some need to be educated a bit with respect to responsibilities etc. www. tenantsinfo.com will do that.
The landlord experience can be a pleasant one if there is a process or a plan that protects the landlord and benefits the tenant and/or the tenant community. The blog/newsletter at http://www.tenantverification.com
has new information every two weeks that landlords benefit from.