Checking the Background of your Tenant - are Tenant Checks enough?

Find out which resources should you be using to evaluate a prospective tenant to get the full picture.

Evaluating Prospective Tenants Beyond Tenant Checks

Finding reliable and trustworthy tenants is crucial for maintaining the value and integrity of your rental property so conducting thorough background checks on prospective tenants is a vital step in that process. 

By gaining insights into a tenant's rental history, financial stability, and background, you can make informed decisions and minimise potential risks for you and your property but, is running a tenant checks through a database really enough?

What else should you be doing when considering an applicant for your rental property? Let's break it down below.

Is running a tenant check enough? 

There are plenty of tools at your disposal when screening a tenant for your property and running a tenant check through one of the databases is just one of those tools. Your process should be complimented by other evaluation methods and include a few more reference points.

By considering multiple factors, you can find a tenant who is not only financially stable and responsible but also compatible with your property and therefore you’ll be more likely to maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship throughout the tenancy.

Application and References

The application plays a vital role in painting the picture of your potential new tenants. You should always begin your screening process by requesting all tenants to complete an application form. The application should include essential details such as personal information, employment history, income verification, and references from previous landlords or agents. 

Contact the references provided in the application to gain valuable insights into the tenant's reliability, payment history, and general behaviour as a renter.

Applications should include 3 forms of references:

  • Employment references is all about making sure the tenant has the means to pay rent in the future.
  • Previous landlord references are to check the tenant's rental history and see if they were responsible in their last rental property.
  • Personal references give you a glimpse into the tenant's personality and qualities that would make them a great tenant. It's like getting a thumbs-up from someone who knows them well.

RentBetter uses a nationally recognised and standard applications system called 2Apply to handle tenant applications for your property. Applications are submitted electronically by clicking and following the apply link for your ads on or To apply, tenants will need to provide their forms of ID such as driver's license or passport, payslips or bank statements for proof of income plus other documents like previous rental references. 

Once they have submitted their application you'll see it in your RentBetter dashboard and will be able to run a tenant check through the National Tenancy Database (NTD). The applications dashboard brings all the information together so you don't need to go hunting around and can easily compare one tenant to another on a surface level.

Read more - Inspections, Applications and the Selection Process.

Rental History and Payment Verification

Contacting the previous rental providers listed by the prospective tenant is crucial. The tenant may have already included their previous rental ledger which records their payment history on their previous property but you should also speak to their previous rental providers to enquire about their history and enquire about any damages caused to the property, as well as their overall conduct as a tenant. This step provides insights into whether the applicant has a positive rental track record and is likely to be a responsible tenant.

Employment and Income Verification:

To ensure your prospective tenant can meet their financial obligations, it is essential to verify their employment and income details. Income is usually verified through payslips from the applicants employer or bank statements showing their income.

Request employment references if they are not already included in the application and contact the employer to confirm the tenant's income stability and employment status. Consider factors such as their debt-to-income ratio, ability to meet rental payments comfortably, and any outstanding financial obligations. This information helps assess their ability to pay rent consistently and on time.

Tenancy Databases

Your next stop should be to conduct an official tenant check. There are a couple of national tenancy databases in Australia, such as the National Tenancy Database (NTD) and TICA, that offer comprehensive tenant screening services. These databases compile information on tenant defaults, evictions, and other relevant data from previous agencies and landlords.

RentBetter uses the National Tenancy Database to check the background of your prospective tenant and you can access the NTD for just $18 per check which will help you make a more informed decision based on their rental history.

Read more about Tenant Checks through the NTD here.

Trust Your Gut and Judgment.

While tenant background checks and other verifications provide valuable and crucial information in assessing the suitability of a tenant for your property, it is equally important to trust your instincts. 

You always should meet the prospective tenant in person and engage in conversations to assess their attitude and general demeanour. Personal interactions can give you a sense of whether they will be respectful and responsible tenants so if something doesn't feel right, even if the tenant check is satisfactory, it may be worth exploring further or considering other applicants.

Remember, it’s your property and you have control over who you rent it to. A well-rounded evaluation should take into account both objective data and your subjective impression!