For landlords, the resident screening process should begin with how the rental ad is worded and during first contact with the rental applicant. Some key questions to rental applicants can yield valuable information in helping landlords to screen for the very best, low-stress, high-profit renters.
Here are six important questions to ask rental applicants:
1. When would you like to be moved in?
If the rental applicants’ reply is “as soon as possible,” this could indicate that they are disorganized and bad planners. Such behavior might preclude lateness with rent or not giving notice to you down the road when they move out. Also, if it’s clear that the timing of their move-in won’t work with your timeline, it’s best to focus on other tenants that are a better fit.
2. What is your main reason for moving?
This question may seem nosy, but it can yield great insights into the potential renter. Reasons like changing jobs or needing more space are fine, but if their answer relates to conflict or drama with the past landlord or neighbors, this could be a sign they will be a problem tenant.
3. How many people would be moving into the unit?
More people living in a property lead to more wear and tear. Landlords may want to set a limit for each property and also check with state rules and guidelines; many states only authorize two persons per bedroom as a maximum.
4. Can you provide character references from past landlords, employers, educators, or other key persons?
If the tenant hems and haws about this one, it’s likely they have something to hide. When calling these references, inquire about the rental applicant’s timeliness with payments and meeting obligations as well as their general character and reliability.
5. What is your employment source and monthly income?
This question helps landlords to enforce a standard of steady employment and an income that is three times the monthly rent. While debt can affect their financial viability, this can be checked via their tenant screening credit report.
6. Would you consent to a national criminal record search and credit record check?
Again, evasiveness is a bad sign here. It’s probably wise to disqualify any applicant that will not agree to tenant screening like credit records and eviction records checks.
Being a landlord is a business, and it’s important to invest in tenants that support the success of that business. Ask these six questions to rental applicants to yield invaluable information when screening potential renters.