Tenant screening: get the right people on the bus

Thad Peterson
Thad Peterson | 3 min. read

Published on March 4, 2015

In 2001, Jim Collins authored one of the best business books of all time. It was called Good to Great, and in it Collins laid out seven traits of great companies, the first of which was that great organizations “get the right people on the bus.”

Indeed, this is at the heart of a great company. And the same notion applies to residential property management: nothing is more central to your success than getting the right people in your rental units.

wIdeal tenantsthose who take care of the property, pay their rent on time, and are responsiblemake your job easy. And they’ll make your customers who pay the billsrental ownerslove you.

Bad tenants, on the other hand, will make your life hell. They won’t take care of the property, they’ll wreak havoc with your finances and accounts, and they can severely strain your relationship with your rental owners.

Bad tenants: The stats

Consider for a moment, the cost of the typical eviction. According to TransUnion, the average tenant eviction runs about $3,500 (with it running up to $10,000 in some scenarios). And typical eviction rates run around 2.5% (2.5 evictions for every 100 leases signed). Far more common are tenant “skips” (when a tenant abandons a property without warning and without formally breaking the lease). Skip rates for properties tend to run around 6%, and the average cost per skip, according TransUnion, is $1,750.

That said, whatever you do to ensure you get the best possible people into your properties could pay off in spades down the road. Or put another way, skimping on the tenant vetting process could haunt you for months (or years) into the future.

We’ve got you covered

Once you’ve analyzed the financial cost of bad tenants, it becomes obvious that implementing a thorough tenant screening process is good business.

With either Basic Tenant Screening or Premium Tenant Screening through Buildium, you can greatly improve your tenant verification process, and increase the chances of landing great tenants consistently. Both options are integrated into the Buildium property management software platform, and we’ve partnered with TransUnionthe best tenant screening provider in the U.S. for both options. View the brief video below for an overview of Basic Tenant Screening and Premium Tenant Screening.

Here’s a high-level overview of the difference between the two screening options:

Features Basic Tenant Screening Premium Tenant Screening
Ideal for companies with 99 units or less Yes
Ideal for companies with 100 units or more Yes
Includes criminal reports Yes Yes
Includes credit reports Yes Yes
Includes eviction reports Yes Yes
Includes one simple accept/reject recommendation Yes Yes
Allows for customized thresholds on recommendations when necessary.
*You can set different standards for luxury properties and affordable housing.
Property manager can initiate screening without action by applicant Yes
Reports delivered in seconds Yes
Requires property manager to be accredited Yes
Cost No setup fee
$15 per screening
$99 setup fee
$18 per screening


If you’d like to use Basic Tenant Screening, you’ll find it right within the Buildium app when you click on the “Rentals” tab and then go to “Applications”:

Basic Tenant Screening button

And if you’ve got 100 units or more and want to get accredited for Premium Tenant Screening, just go here, sign in, and fill out the simple application process.

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Thad Peterson

Thad Peterson was the Director of Product Marketing at Buildium.

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