5 Questions To Ask When Screening A Potential Tenant

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#1 Why Are You Moving?

This question can reveal a lot about the potential tenant, such as prior evictions or other issues, so pay close attention. Genuine reasons often include needing more space, or a change of jobs. However, look out for warning signals such as problems with neighbours, being evicted or suing former landlord.

#2 Do You Have Any Pets?

It’s best to get this question out of the way early on, as it can be an immediate deal-breaker to a prospective tenant if you have a “no pet” policy, so it could save you both a lot of unnecessary time & effort.

#3 What Is Your Monthly Income?

The rule of thumb is to make sure a potential tenant earns at least 3x the cost of the rent each month, but the higher the better. This is a simple way to make sure someone can afford your property, as it should give them enough money to cover other living expenses and still leave them with a cushion in case of emergencies.

However, monthly income may not tell the entire story, as they may have other debts which could affect the affordability of the rent, but you should uncover this later on through a credit check

#4 When Do You Plan On Moving In

This can tell you a lot about a potential tenant. A responsible tenant should begin their search months in advance, especially considering most landlords require a minimum of 30 days’ notice. So, if they respond with something like “tomorrow” or “next week”, then they may not be the best of planners, which could lead to problems down the road. However, you don’t know their circumstances, and the lack of planning may be due to factors out-with their control, such as a pay cut.

#5 Can You Provide References From Your Employer and Former Landlord?

Unless you they’re moving out of the family home, there is no reason why your prospective tenant should hesitate or make up excuses why this isn’t possible. If they do, then it’s likely they have something to hide. Getting references is a must, and can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

We’d recommend avoiding references from current landlords, as they may be trying to get rid of the tenant, and therefore might not tell you of any issues they’ve had. Instead, get in contact with past landlords, who will be more likely to give you a more reliable insight into their experience with the tenant, and let you know of any problems (such as missed payments).

References from an employer will help verify income and stable employment.

Conclusion

Potential tenants may appear charming, and you may subconsciously let your guard down. Remember that you can’t trust your instinct alone, so use these five questions to vet anyone interested in your property as they should provide you with a good insight into your potential new tenant’s background, and will hopefully help you avoid problems down the line.

If you have any questions, you can get in contact with us here

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