Pre-Screening Questions to Ask Before Showing Tenants a Vacant Rental

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on May 2, 2011 under Lease and Rental Agreements, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenantscreeningblog, tenant screening, background checkWe’ve often advocated that screening tenants begins with placing your For Rent ad. It should continue with the phone conversation you have with prospective tenants when they call in response to your ad.

But what exactly should a landlord ask each prospective lease applicant to avoid the tire-kickers and those whose credit and rental history make them ineligible to lease the property? Here are a few suggestions for questions to ask before showing your vacant rental units:

  • Where do you live now?
  • Are you currently renting?
  • Why are you moving?
  • How many people will be living with you?
  • What kind of reference will your current landlord give you?
  • What kind of reference will your previous landlords give you?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • What types of pets do you have?*
  • How many people who will be living in this unit are smokers?*
  • We run credit and criminal background checks on every lease applicant over the age of 18. Will there be any issues there?
  • We require a lease application and a fee to cover the background and credit check for each tenant over 18. Is there any problem with that?
  • When do you want to move in?
  • Will you have the first month’s rent and security deposit ready if we sign a lease?
  • Do you have any questions about the process or the rental unit?
  • Do you have a problem with any of these requirements?

*Asking “how many” rather than “do you have pets?” or “does anyone smoke?” often elicits an honest answer. If you do not allow pets or smokers, you’ve just eliminated the applicant.

Depending on the answers you get, the interested party may decide you are not the landlord for him or her. And you may decide they are not the tenant for you. Either way, you’ve saved your valuable time by avoiding showing the rental unit and going through the lease application process.

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