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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 

As a Landlord, verifying the income of your tenants is an integral part of the tenant screening process. It's easy for a tenant to say they make enough to afford your unit, but you would be surprised at how often what they claim to make doesn't line up with what they ACTUALLY make. 

If you are a landlord and want to screen for maximum effectiveness by verifying the income of your tenants, here's some tips to help you get started and make sure all of your bases are covered.


Start with the easy stuff first, make sure you request all of the following documents from each tenant: 

  • W2 from most recent tax year. 
  • Pay stubs going back 6 months.
  • Bank statements
  • Tax documents of any other variety.

Occasionally you will run into people who are self employed, which is where it gets tricky. Usually the best way to verify income on someone who is self employed is to simply get their tax statements going back up to 2 years.

It's easy when someone is self employed to "fudge" the numbers a bit, but if there is one place that knows for sure what they are making, it's the IRS.

Bank statements can also help but realize that it is easy to move money around in a bank account, so always try to verify with tax documents as well to see if the numbers match up. 


    Some self employed individuals may get paid huge sums when things are good and then go months without any type of pay whatsoever. Pay particularly close attention to their bank statements to verify this, as someone who often goes months without a paycheck is much more likely to default than someone who gets smaller but more consistent pay.

This also applies to those who are seasonal workers. Farm laborers for example get paid while the crops are in season and then do not receive pay until the next season.


Believe it or not, it is actually quite easy to fake the documents listed above. 9.9 out of 10 people would never consider doing such a thing, but with your luck you will end up choosing the one tenant who does. Protect yourself, it costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time. 

A simple phone call to an employer for verification of their length of employment is often all that is necessary to confirm the submitted documents.

For those who are self-employed, you can verify the presence of their business in a number of different ways:

  • Look for licenses required for the business.
  • Look at website traffic and accepted orders.
  • Look for online review sites, feedback, and other reputation related items.

The more exposure for a business that you find, the more likely the self-employed applicant is telling the truth about their business practices.


Credit is not ALWAYS a good indicator of whether a person can pay rent or not, but it is another tool in your arsenal of tenant screening that should be leveraged to ensure only the best tenants make it through. At least with a credit report, you can get a preview of what to expect in terms of payments. Someone who doesn't pay others likely won't pay you either. 

It will also let you know if there is an active bankruptcy, if there are any judgments against them at the moment, and many credit checks will even show you if they’ve been evicted from a previous rental.

Some landlords base rental decisions solely on the credit score. Others base it solely on the income of an applicant. If you base a rental decision off of all the information you get from income verification, however, you’ll get a better picture of how good an applicant happens to be.

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You (the landlord, property manager, or leasing agent) choose which tenant screening reports you require for the application.

Rent Application can order the following reports with each application:

  • Full TransUnion credit report including FICO score and individual accounts
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Eric Liu

Digital tenant screening, free for landlords or property managers.

Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #2 
Also, property managers and landlords use services like TransUnion to do credit checks. The idea behind credit checks is that if a tenant can keep their credit in order, they'll be able to pay rent.
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