Every landlord wants to find quality, reliable tenants to rent from them, and the tenant screening process is the best way to do just that. But with how many questions there are to ask and how much you want to know about an applicant, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why, to help you find the perfect tenant, this article will review the most important questions to ask potential tenants.
What Are Your Reasons for Moving?
While this may seem like an invasive question to ask, it’s perfectly acceptable and can give you a good idea of their rental history. It’s also a great question to help you spot any inconsistencies in their application. For example, if they say they’re moving because the rent at their previous apartment increased, but you later find out they were evicted, you’ll be happy that you asked. It’s also possible that the applicant has never rented before, in which case it may be helpful to guide them through the renting process.
How Many People Will Be Living in the Unit With You?
There are legal limits to how many people per bedroom can live in a rental unit, and anyone living in the apartment should be on the lease agreement. You want to ensure you can provide the right unit to fit their needs and avoid accidentally breaking an occupancy law. Additionally, one of the most common tenant screening mistakes is neglecting to interview the co-applicants, so don’t skip out on this question.
Do You Have Any Pets?
This question isn’t restricted to inquiring if they have pets. It’s a question that depends on what clauses you have in your lease agreement that may bar a particular person from renting. If you have a particular pet policy, you should ask if they have any pets. If you have a no-smoking policy, you should ask if they’re a smoker. While they might lie, you did your due diligence at the very least and can more easily evict a tenant if they break the lease agreement.
Have You Ever Been Evicted?
Just because a tenant has been evicted doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a horrible tenant. Asking this question gives renters who have been evicted the opportunity to explain what happened. In these cases, it’s always important to hear both sides of the story before deciding.
What Is Your Current Income?
Asking about an applicant’s current income is one of the most important screening questions to ask a potential tenant. This is because, without the right income, they can’t afford to live there and pay you. As a general rule, tenants can’t afford to spend more than 30 percent of their income to pay for housing, so knowing their monthly income can key you in on whether they have the right financial resources.
By asking these few simple questions and cross-referencing their answers with their application, you can better understand whether a tenant is the right fit for your rental property.