The True Cost of Not Screening Your Tenants

rental applicant officeTenant screening is a must. Landlords that don’t screen their tenants run the risk of incurring hefty costs that could easily be avoided. In this article, we discuss many of the costs associated with not screening your tenants. If you aren’t yet convinced about the importance of tenant screening, you will be soon.

Late Payments

Rent payments are the foundation of any successful rental business. When tenants are late on payments, or miss them altogether, it interrupts your cash flow and threatens the health of your business. Late payments make it difficult to make mortgage payments, fulfill employees’ paychecks, and grow your business. Screening tenants and running credit and employment history checks helps ensure that tenants will pay rent on time every month.

Eviction Process

Evictions are a costly process that only result in a month or two’s recovered rent. More often than not, landlords lose more money when evicting a tenant than they recover in the end. Let’s break down the actual cost of eviction.

First, you miss a few months of rent payments. Then you must file a complaint against a tenant in circuit court, which can cost $90-$400. After that, a notice will be served by the sheriff’s office, which could cost $50-$400. Next, you have filing and services fees of anywhere from $50-$700.

Lastly, you’ll incur attorney fees. There are flat attorney fees as low as $250 for filing paperwork and making one court appearance. Other attorneys charge up to $600 for the whole process. And prolonged cases could cost $200-$400 an hour in attorney fees.

It’s safe to say that evictions should be avoided at all costs. The more thoroughly you screen tenants, the greater your chances are of finding quality tenants that won’t necessitate an eviction.

Property Damage

Low-quality tenants are more likely to damage your property. Tenants that are careless, irresponsible, and reckless tend to be neglectful of cleaning, too. This will mean extensive repairs and cleaning once the tenant moves out. It can also prolong the turnover period because it will take longer to make the unit move-in ready.

Tenant screening enables you to find tenants that will respect your property and take good care of it. As a result, you’ll have less repairs and cleanings to do once they move out, and your next tenant can move in sooner.

Unsafe Community

When you don’t screen tenants, you run the risk of leasing with someone who will make the community unsafe. Dangerous or irresponsible tenants will scare away the good tenants you already have. And depending on the severity of the tenant’s behavior, your property and the area might develop a poor reputation, scaring away future tenants.

Thorough tenant screening cuts out applicants that will be a danger to other tenants and the community. When you screen your tenants, you can be sure that they will be responsible and respectful of you, your property, and the community

Additional Time and Energy

As cliche as it sounds, time is money. As it should now be clear, poor tenants are a drain on your time and energy. They require additional communication, you have to track them down for payments, you have to resolve any conflicts they create, and more.

When your attention is spent on low-quality tenants, you can focus on other important matters relating to your business. As such, screening tenants saves you time and money both directly and indirectly.


It should now be evident that not screening your tenants is a cost you can’t afford. Screening tenants is worth the little additional time and money. And with many property management platforms, landlords can pass screening fees off to applicants. These platforms also deliver reports within minutes.

In short, whatever reservations you might have had about screening tenants should no longer be a concern. If you aren’t already screening tenants, now is the time to start.

About the Author

Innago is a free, easy-to-use property management software solution, designed to save you time & money. Innago allows you to easily: collect rent, screen tenants, list properties, manage work orders, create applications, sign leases, organize financials, communicate with tenants, & much more! Learn more here