Find Better Tenants Using These Great Questions
Treat the rental application like an interview
An application to move into your property is like an interview. Just as the tenant wants to learn about your property, you as the property manager or landlord should be interviewing them as potential residents and customers. It is important to keep your ears open for any potential red flags that might indicate your applicant is not the best fit for your property.
Below are 5 great questions to ask every prospective tenant that will help speed up the application process while also helping you find out if your applicant is someone you want as a tenant. The first three questions are great to ask during an initial conversation to see if a showing makes sense. The final two questions work well to continue the search for a great tenant.
5 Great Questions to Ask Every Prospective Tenant
1. When do you plan to move in?
This should be your first question to every interested applicant and make sure you ask it almost immediately. Showing a property to a prospective tenant who needs something before your space is available, or, months after your current tenant is set to leave is a major waste of time for both parties. If your timelines do not match up, save everyone the time and move on.
2. Can you pay move-in costs at the lease signing?
This question can help you determine the seriousness of the applicant. If they are prepared to make the necessary move-in payments, such as one month’s rent and security deposit, it is a good sign. Answers that should set off red flags include asking if you accept installments or excuses about having the money by the move-in date. Before asking this question, make sure you know the exact amounts required.
3. Do you have pets?
This is a simple one if you have a no pets policy, and your prospective tenant has a pet, it is easier to just stop the conversation now. If you and the applicant are on the same page, this is a great time to schedule a showing and segue into our 4th and 5th questions.
4. Can you pass a background and credit check?
Applicants who cannot pass one, or both, will often eliminate themselves from the rental application process at this point. Be upfront, letting every applicant know you are happy to show them the property, but that every formal application requires a background check and a credit check. If you charge a fee to run them, this is also a good time to let applicants know what it will cost.
5. Why are you leaving your current place?
Great answers to this question include relocating to the area from another market, wanting to live in a particular neighborhood, or a desire to be closer to work and family. Any answer hinting at issues with their current property manager, management company, or landlord is a definite red flag. These answers warrant a reference call to the current landlord to see if there are bigger issues at hand.
Now that we’ve covered 5 great questions to ask every prospective tenant, check out these 4 Topics You Never Discuss With Prospective Tenants.
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