Landlord Tenant - Action Line

Dear Action Line, Recently, I purchased a duplex. I’m going to live in one and rent out the other. Can you give me some advice on screening tenants? I really don’t want to rent to anyone that will throw loud parties or be late on their rent. How can I be sure to get good solid renter?
October 11, 2017

Dear Reader, 

The link below gives you great information as a landlord.  

 “California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities.”

This publication offers you a complete look at landlord rights as well as suggestions for pre-rental documents and questions about leases. The publication covers rules for deposits, paying rent, moving out and many more.

Renters often times will only give you names of people who will say nice things about them. So don’t rely solely on references. 

You may also want to have a tenant screening company do the checking for you. You can go to to find reputable tenant screening companies in your area. It’s free.

If you choose to do it yourself some things to watch out for are:

Unsigned rental application

  • No photo ID available from prospective tenant
  • No bank account
  • No credit card debt
  • No car payment or history of same
  • No credit history at all
  • Gaps in employment history
  • Date of birth is not legible
  • Social security number is not legible


Here are some things you can do:

  • Run a background check
  • Verify income
  • Contact previous landlords
  • Check out social media profiles

Doing your homework first can often save you time and money down the line. If you are still not comfortable you may want to work with an attorney that can advise on landlord tenant issues. Should you not have your own attorney, you can go to to look for one.

Although we are not attorneys, the BBB does offer free landlord-tenant mediation services by professionally trained mediators that might be useful for you. So if you do have a renter that you are having problems with, BBB can offer mediation. Contact the BBB office at 256-6300 to learn more about our mediation services. 

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