This is your way to verify that the impressions you have of your applicants are true. Everyone who wants to rent my house has to fill out an application form. I will select usually the top one or two candidates, based on the processes mentioned above, and then call all the references and former landlords listed on the application form.
Always try to verify the references by telephone. You wouldn’t be the first landlord to be given a fake reference, and people will often give more candid opinions when you speak to them.
I don’t run credit checks, but I do like to see copies of their paychecks. I do a criminal background check by searching county court house records, and I check the sex offender’s registry list.
A high priority for me is that they make enough money to pay the rent. Don’t go by what they say; go by what their paycheck says.
They may say, “So anyway, my wife/girlfriend is going to get a job in a couple of weeks, and we operate a successful E-bay business, so the rental payments won’t be a problem.” Weeks turn into years and all the while they will have trouble making their monthly payments. Someone who has a stable, good paying job is an ideal tenant.