When prospective tenants schedule a time to view your rental property, you should have screening questions prepared to filter out the bad candidates from the good. Not only will screening questions save you time and energy, but this process will help you find a candidate that’s the right fit for your rental property. Here are five essential questions to ask potential tenants that will help you qualify them as candidates:
1. Why are you moving?
Although it may seem nosey and none of your business, listen carefully to the candidate’s response. Are they moving because they were evicted or had a bad relationship with the landlord? Red flag. Are they moving because their landlord upheld strict rules in the contract? Not a good sign. You’re better off choosing a candidate who is moving because of a new job or needs a bigger home to accommodate their family.
2. Will you agree to a credit and background check?
This question is essential to ask to ensure the person is a good fit. Unless the candidate just graduated from college or moved out of his or her parents’ house, request a reference. It’s best to contact a former landlord who is more likely to be open and straightforward rather than the current landlord. If the current landlord is having problems, they might be more likely to embellish the situation to get the tenant to move on.
3. Do you have any pets?
If you have a no-pet policy, this question will help to narrow down your list of candidates. Love animals? That’s great. But make sure the candidate doesn’t have a yappy dog that will make lots of noise or a cat with a bad habit of scratching the walls. You don’t want this tenant to be responsible for disrupting the building or ruining the place.
4. How many people will be living with you?
More people means more noise, more wear-and-tear, and more frequent use of shared amenities, such as laundry machines. Depending on the size of the house or apartment, there could be regulations on how many people are allowed to live there, regardless of your preferences. Make sure you know the housing regulation and laws in your state!
5. Do you have any questions?
You’ve asked everything you’ve need to, and now it’s time to turn the tables. This is your opportunity to hear any of the candidate’s concerns or questions about the property. If there’s something about the house or apartment that they find unappealing, or require a specific amenity that you don’t have, such as on-site laundry, don’t count on a follow-up conversation.