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I have an applicant that is married but he only listed himself on the application as an applicant.  He listed his wife as an occupant.  I am assuming he didn't list his wife as a co-applicant because she does not work.  Should I tell him his wife has to be on the lease and require a background and credit check?  Or not bother since she isn't employed?

I would still check even if she is not employed. Logically it makes sense that even if a person is not employed she can still be a criminal or went to jail for one or other reason.
I had a similar situation.  There was one "applicant" but had a roommate.  Turned out to be the husband.  Husband had criminal history and a wrecked credit report due to time served and fines/fees that had not been paid and were under collection.  Always do your homework, even if the fees associated with background checks will take some money out of your pocket.  I keep a retainer paid for issues like this and I sent a letter to the applicant that she was approved, but not her roommate due to these issues.  She decided not to rent the property, or more to the point, after my letter I didn't hear from her again.  This is not personal...just protecting an investment.
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