Are you having a hard time getting applicants for your property?
Finding a quality tenant for your rental property doesn’t have to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Placing an ad online doesn’t always give you the cream of the crop, but you can narrow down your choices by asking quality tenant screening questions.
These questions will help you determine if the potential renter will be worth the revenue you will receive with them staying at your property.
What should you ask before agreeing to let someone rent a property?
Here are 7 important tenant screening questions that will help save you a lot of hassles down the road.
How Long Have You Lived at Your Current Place?
You want to ask this question to potential tenants to learn about their current living situation. If an applicant has been at a property for a couple of years their family may be getting bigger, or a change of scenery may be in order.
If someone is trying to move into your property but hasn’t finished out their current lease, that could be a potential red flag. Why are they trying to leave in a hurry?
Asking this question will help you understand why they want to move into your property.
What is Your Monthly Income?
One of the other important questions to ask potential tenants is how much will their monthly income be. This will help weed out applicants who may not be able to afford the rental amount of the property on a monthly basis.
If your rent is $1000 per month and the tenant applicant is only able to bring in $2000 in income, chances are they will quickly find themselves owing you money because rent may not be high on their priority list compared to other material items.
Will You Agree to a Credit Check?
This question can sometimes be put on an advertisement for your rental property, but if you sit down in person with the prospective tenant it is good to see their reaction.
Sometimes they will be honest and explain that their credit is poor and it may hope that honesty will keep them in good standing. If they flat out refuse to undergo a credit check then you can quickly cross them off the list if you have a feeling they will lead to financial problems down the road.
Have You Ever Had an Eviction?
Asking your potential renter if they have been evicted is a good indicator of how they will treat you and your property if they sign a leasing agreement.
A prior eviction does not necessarily mean that they will skip out on paying you rent when it is due. It could be a dispute between the tenant and prior landlord regarding living conditions that the tenant deemed unsuitable, so finding out the entire story is the best option before making a final decision.
How Many People Will Be Living With You?
When you ask a potential renter how many people will be living on the property it will give you an opportunity to learn about their family. Will space be big enough for everyone to live comfortably?
If your property is a 2 bedroom 1 bath single family home, expecting 4 adults and 6 children to live in the space without it being cramped will be a delusion.
Learning about the occupants of the house can also help you determine if there will need to be routine maintenance done (college kids may like to throw parties that result in structural damage).
Make sure you have a full understanding of who will be living on the property before coming to an agreement with the renter.
Can You Provide References From a Previous Employer or Landlord?
Getting personal references from an applicant is one thing. Being able to find good references from a former landlord or employer will help you get a better feeling for the tenant in professional settings.
The former or current employer can provide valuable knowledge about the potential tenant when they interact with others, how well they perform at work, and if they can be trusted with valuable information.
Reaching out to a previous landlord can give you background information about the tenant that would involve how clean they kept their last home if there were any complaints or violations reported from neighbors and a general feeling of how often they would pay rent on a timely basis.
After you have finished speaking to a former landlord or employer you should be able to have enough evidence to determine whether to rent your property to the applicant.
Do You Have Any Pets?
This may sound like an uncommon question, but if people are willing to sneak animals into hotels that are not pet-friendly, they will do the same thing with their home.
Whether you decide to include a pet deposit with your tenant fees will ultimately be up to you, but asking the potential renter upfront can help you determine if you will want to approve their application or not.
Some properties do not allow large dogs or exotic animals, so speaking to the tenant beforehand can save both of you a lot of time if the animal will not be allowed to live at the property.
What Tenant Screening Questions Will You Ask?
Now that you have seen a few of the most popular tenant screening questions out there today, do you have any that will be added to your list?
If you are looking for more information check out our blog at or call us at (310) 310-8063 to learn more.