How to screen tenants for your rental property

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DEAR BOB: I own a rental house. I recently renovated it and now want to rent it to tenants. My previous tenants were there for 12 years, but I was a lazy landlord and they took advantage of me. I put about $50,000 into the house and want to screen prospective tenants. What is the best way to do that? --Berta G. DEAR BERTA: Qualifying a rental tenant isn't difficult. Of course, insist on a written rental application and a deposit that is fully refundable if you don't select the applicant. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. It is perfectly legal to take several applications for the same rental, check each applicant, and select the best-qualified applicant. Then promptly refund the deposits of the applicants you don't accept. Of course, the first step is to verify employment and income. Next, be sure to get a credit report on all applicants, including their FICO (Fair Isaac Corp.) credit score. Better yet, ask all applicants to supply their credit report and FICO score, which they can ob...