Quick and simple tenant screening tip for Illinois landlords

Illinois tenant screening tips

Many landlords don’t like to screen their tenants thoroughly.  In fact, some landlords seem to require only that the tenant have enough money to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent (some don’t even go that far).

However, prudent landlords are getting smarter about screening their tenants.  Picking a good tenant up front reduces headaches down the line.  In the wake of the country’s economic downturn, more and more tenants have bad credit, so landlords need to look deeper into rental application information.

One method I suggest is to ask the tenant to provide the paystubs from their last two or three paychecks.  The paystubs will confirm that the tenant is employed and will verify the tenant’s income.  When the rental application does not add up with the information provided by the tenant or the tenant can’t provide the requested information, warning bells should be going off in the landlord’s head.

Landlords should rigorously screen their tenants.  For more thoughts on tenant screening, see my article on the Art of Screening.

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7 Responses to Quick and simple tenant screening tip for Illinois landlords

  1. Dan W says:

    Great recommendations but how do you deal with prospective tenants putting false landlord references on their applications? I mean when you get that glowing landlord reference over the phone how do you know this isn’t just some acquaintance willing to lie on their friends behalf. We seem to find this more and more but frankly it is tough to catch up front.

    • Sheira says:

      You make sure you confirm the address of the property to the owner before you call to verify to make the names match, if you are talking to the manager of the property or otherwise make sure you look up the name of the propery or person and call the number you find online. If neither match up or if only one matches up then you call and screen that person lightly to be sure – it is simple to tell.

  2. Sky says:

    Excellent advice! I never even thought about checking paystubs but I might have to add that to screening process.

    • sue z says:

      i get a copy of the check stubs and i ask for the last 2 months copy of the rent checks only the cashed ones, that give the name of the owners that r receiving the rent and the amount they paid and if they paid the last 2 months i also take a picture of all new tenant holding a smke detector with a smile so if i have to evict I have a picture for the server works great but if someone moves in you don’t know take a picture when u can of them just in case u must evict.

  3. Pingback: Simple tenant screening tip for Cook County landlords

  4. Nicole S says:

    Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord discovers that the tenant provided false information on their rental application in Cook County?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      That’s a good question. Finding the answer begins with a look at your lease. Is there a provision that deals with the application? If so, is the false information enough to be a >material< breach of the lease. Every factual situation is different and every judge will look at the facts differently. In many (most?) cases, false information alone will probably not be enough to evict. That said, I don't know all of your facts, so you should consult with an attorney on your situation before acting.