Will the prospects take good care of your rental property? Even if the applicants seem to be trustworthy people, it is very important to double-check them! We’ve prepared tenant screening questions for you to select the best candidates!
There is no doubt that all landlords are interested in a long-term lease. Find out if the potential tenants are capable of renting your home! It can be done without arranging a meeting. Call your prospects to ask a few tenants reference check questions. Quickly exclude the people who do not meet your standards, but avoid any discrimination issues. Write down the answers and compare them with the application data to see if there are discrepancies.
Questions for Tenants
Why Are You Looking for a New Property?
Listen carefully to what your potential tenant will say about the reasons to be looking for a new home! It is quite normal for any person to do so, if they recently got a new job in another neighborhood or city, or just want more space.
Can Your Current Employer and Former Landlord Recommend You?
Feel free to ask for the contacts of the candidate’s employer and a former landlord. These renter reference questions will reveal if a person is a good tenant. If a prospect suddenly gets lost in the vague explanations, it might be a sign he/she had some problems with the previous home or has issues at work. To make sure you won’t have to face any, check the contact information yourself.
When Can You Move In?
This question seems quite innocent, but it can reveal a lot. If the prospects are eager to move in the next day, they might not be responsible people. As a rule, it takes tenants 30 days to notify a landlord that they are moving out. So it is better to check if a person was previously renting. Of course, he/she might have serious reasons to be looking for a new home, such as a pay cut, a job in another city or splitting out with a partner. However, if the prospects fail to give a clear explanation, simply stay away from them.
How Much Do You Make Per Month?
The monthly income of a tenant should be at least two and a half times bigger than the rent. For instance, if you charge $2000, the applicant should earn $4500. Otherwise, there might be payment delays. Remember that even if a person’s salary allows to rent your property, there can be another reason to decline an application, such as a huge debt. In this case, your tenants might not be able to pay on time. So it is recommended to require a credit check from all of your potential residents!
Can You Pay First Month Rent and Security Deposit in Advance?
It is easy to find out if tenants will be able to pay regularly. Those prospects who have a stable income will agree to pay the first month’s rent and the security deposit in advance. Nevertheless, there are people, who tend to ask landlords to pay a small sum of money every week or to postpone payments of pet and security deposits for an unspecified period of time. This is an obvious signal that you’ll have to deal with similar situations all the time in the future. Avoid accepting such unfavorable terms and do not let anyone in before they pay the full amount of money. You’ll be able to use it in case the tenants leave without notification or damage the property.
Have You Ever Been Evicted?
You can ask directly if a candidate had any eviction history. No one is perfect, so a good person will definitely tell you the truth and explain why he/she had to deal with the hardships. In any case, your applicants should always provide you with credit reports and background checks. If people have nothing to hide, they are likely to prove there is no criminal record or a huge debt to pay. When your prospects apply via Rentberry, you can easily access their credit and background checks. You will receive their applications with the comprehensive and easy-to-read reports attached. Make sure your prospects are reliable tenants who always pay rent on time.
Do You Have a Renters Insurance?
Don’t forget to ask your tenants insurance questions. Not all applicants are aware that they will be responsible for the losses if they harm the rental property, its visitors or the whole building, even unintentionally. It is crucial to inform them and ask to provide their renter’s insurance. Those who have it will have more chances to get approval from the landlords because there will be no trial in the case of fire, flood or less significant damage. Study the policy carefully to know what exactly is covered by the renter’s insurance.
Will You Live Alone or with the Roommates?
It is important to know how many people will live in your home. Firstly, the fire departments and municipalities restrict the number of renters who can officially live in the property. It helps to avoid overcrowding and ensures a healthy and risk-free rental. Secondly, your home will get less damage, if it has fewer people inside. It is recommended to let no more than 2 tenants in 1 bedroom to keep the rental in good condition.
How Can You Describe Your Lifestyle?
Find out what lifestyle your prospects have. It is better to get to know that your potential tenant plays a loud musical instrument or smokes cannabis (in states where it is allowed) before you actually rent out an apartment to him/her. At least, you’ll be able to avoid the calls from the angry neighbors! Ask as much as possible to make sure the candidates fit your property.
Is There Anything You’d Like to Ask?
It is not only you who makes a decision on whether to lease the property or not. Renting a home is a mutual process, so the tenant has to be satisfied with it, too. It is not always possible to predict what the tenants are looking for. Different people have various criteria, so it is crucial to listen to the other part and find out the expectations of your future tenants. If your property doesn’t meet them, don’t hesitate to say it right away.
Hopefully, these questions for a productive tenant’s interview will help you save your precious time, which is money for all the landlords. Select only the best candidates, who will take a good care of your property. Receive regular payments and enjoy the long-term rental!
Mariia serves as editor-in-chief and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips blogs. She covers topics such as landlord-tenant laws, tips and advice for renters, investment opportunities in various cities, and more. She holds a master’s degree in strategic management, and you can find her articles in such publications as Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, Benzinga, and RealEstateAgent.