Tenant screening is necessary if you want to be careful about who is going to live in your property. It helps you to get a background check of your prospective tenant so you can rule out the people who do not match your expectation. A number of questions can be asked to interview the interested renters either on phone or in person before you take them to visit your property. Listed below is a set of questions you must ask from your potential tenants:
Q: Why Are You Moving?
It is important to look for legitimate reasons like the tenant wishes to stay closer to work or he likes the neighborhood. If he complaints about disputes with the former landlord, you might want to know the reason behind it.
Q: Where Did You Previously Live?
If the tenant is moving within the same locality, expect a positive answer like the landlord is making repairs or the lease has ended. If that is not the case, he may be moving in because of a job transfer or he has shifted from his parent’s house. If he was evicted due to a dispute, look for another tenant.
Q: Where Do You Work?
Knowing where your prospective tenant works can give you a fair idea about his ability to pay. A tenant working in a reputed firm may be financially more secure compared to those having an unstable job.
Q: Can I Get A Reference?
A reference from the tenant’s current or previous landlord and his employer can be helpful. While the former landlord can describe his rent paying habits and the way he keeps the property, a reference from the employer can give you an idea about his job security.
Q: When Will You Move In?
If the tenant plans to move in after 2 or 3 months, you will be incurring a loss of rent for those months. There is no point in keeping your property vacant when you can find other tenants. If he is in a hurry to move in, make sure he has some positive reasons to explain his urgency like a new job or a sudden transfer.
Q: Are You Bringing Your Family?
According to your state laws and insurance policy, there may be a ‘two people per bedroom rule’. If the tenant wishes to bring his family along, ask about the total number of people. You can ask for a higher security deposit for bigger families to cover up for the wear and tear.
Q: Will You Be Able To Pay The Security Deposit And First Month’s Rent?
The tenant should be able to pay the security deposit and a month’s rent in advance. If your tenant gives a positive answer, you will know that he is financially stable. In case he hesitates, you can expect a delayed rent every month.
Q: Do You Smoke?
If you have a no smoking policy and your prospective tenant smokes, you can either ask him to do it off property or find another tenant.
Q: Will You Be Bringing Pets?
Landlords who allow pets can ask for a higher security deposit to manage damages caused by them. If you have a ‘no pet’ policy, look for a tenant who does not have one.
Q: How Long Do You Plan To Stay In This Property?
The tenant may be planning to rent your property for a month or a year. Since most landlords prefer to sign a 12 months contract, a tenant looking for a shorter stay may not be suitable. There is no point in renting the property for a few months as you will have to start the entire process all over.
Q: Do You Like The Property?
The prospective tenant should be able to let you know if he is happy with the property or if he wants to make a few changes. Make sure you ask this question before signing the lease. In case he demands for new appliances or a fresh coat of paint while you have no plans of doing it in the near future, you can search for a new tenant. It is important to make these things clear to your tenant in advance to avoid any confusion in future.
The landlord should ask the same set of questions to every tenant no matter if they appear to be on their best behavior. It will not only save time but also protect you from making bad decisions.