Many rental property owners and managers often struggle with vetting and
screening potential tenants.
Being unable to properly screen tenants can be a big mistake and could certainly
cause more problems instead of having a good landlord-tenant relationship.
Issues such as undeclared pets, poor payment habits, previous records of property
damage, or illicit activities can be very damaging to your rental business.
Here are some important questions that can be asked of potential tenants;
Why are you moving and when do you plan to move?
This is a straightforward question that can help sound alarms if they fail to provide
a good reason for moving or are planning to get settled in right away.
Generally, rental owners require no less than a month’s notice if a tenant wishes to
transfer or move to another place, which is why those in a hurry to move in may
have problems with a previous landlord.
Asking them for their reason in moving is to know if there have been issues with a
previous landlord such as an eviction or disagreements with neighbours or others
in the area.
How long have you rented in your current residence?
This can help you determine if the tenant is a reliable or a problematic one.
Remember that no one will generally admit to being the cause of a problem or
spat with anyone in the current residence, so make sure to check for warning
signs that could tell you whether the tenant is a good one or not.
What is your current state of employment and how much are you earning?
A person with a stable and good-paying job can reveal their level of responsibility,
both socially and financially. If they keep such information from you, there is a
great chance they are keeping something from you that you may not want to
hear or know about.
A good idea to gauge their capacity to pay is if they earn at least 2.5 times the
monthly rent which means they can afford to pay rent.
Are you amenable to a background and credit check?
If they confidently give their permission, then they have nothing to hide from you,
especially when it comes to their finances and their ability to pay rent. Since the
law requires their consent to conduct these checks, it is important that you
explain to them the reason behind the checks and if they refuse, that is an
indicator of something not favourable.
Also, check if they can provide references from their current employer or former
Have you been evicted before?
If the potential tenant answers yes make sure to ask for the reason why and do not
threaten to reject them right away. This can be a test of their honesty as there
might be extenuating circumstances that led to it.
Will you be able to make the security deposit and have your first month’s rent ready before moving in?
These are common requirements and tenants are usually aware of this. If these
are not readily available, they may not be the right ones tenants for your property.
Do you own a pet?
Regardless of whether your property allows pets or not, this helps you get an idea
if your potential tenant is a good fit and maybe a good indicator of how they can
adhere to property rules or not.
Who else will be living in the property?
As a landowner or manager, it is your right to know who will be living in the
property. This will also be a good way for you to determine if the potential tenant is
a good fit especially if your property has other tenants who may not be
comfortable with having small children or pets around.
Do you have anything you would like to know?
This will be an opportunity for you to understand their preferences as potential
clients. Remember that each tenant has their own preferences, so this might be a
good time for them to ask or inquire about the property for them to see if it suits
It is always important to know and understand who will be living in your property
and help you be confident that you may be able to avoid disagreements or
problems with your tenants in the long run.