Have you ever wondered why you would need a thorough set of relevant queries to understand potential tenants? Have you ever had to deal with challenging eviction since one of your tenants was not carefully screened? With present tech at our disposal, prescreening prospective tenants is convenient than before. You won't have to display your rental unit to everyone who contacts, which might save you a lot of time and effort.
Screening Questionnaire for Potential Future Tenants;
Without any further explanation, here are the questions every landlord should ask potential renters over the phone for a speedy prescreen or during the showing/interview prior to signing the lease. You could also use Google Forms to collect information from all of your prospective tenants.
The following questions/issues are to be considered when writing a questionnaire for or talking with a potential tenant;
- For how long have you been in your existing residence?
When it pertains to getting a suitable tenant for your valued rental property, you definitely need to get a sense of who will be residing there. By requesting previous and present rental periods, you can get a sense of how consistent they are. Do they have a track record of their short-term and/or long-term lease agreements? Do they suit the profile of the ideal tenant for your property? Turnover can be complicated and costly. You would not want to rent to someone who will probably leave after just a few months. Long periods of time without a rental record might also be a red sign. To get lives back on track, they most presumably had to live with a relative for a period of time.
- Do you find it difficult or inappropriate to pay an application fee?
It's necessary to observe due process and conduct your tenant screening properly. A background investigation and credit record, both of which are not free, should be part of this procedure. You should really not earn a profit on this phase of your procedure, but you also shouldn't pay for it personally. This is rather common now. If the prospective tenant has a problem with this, go on to the next tenant. You'll definitely be getting a nick fussy issue for a tenant!
- What number of parking spots would you require?
This is an excellent question to pose to a prospective tenant. Why? What if he says he requires multiple parking spaces even though there will only be 1-2 individuals living at your rented property? This is usually a bad sign. They may intend to have numerous overnight visitors or outright lie to you and reside with additional people. What if they choose to build a junkyard or something on your rented property? Consider the above mentioned points carefully.
- When are you thinking about moving in?
By posing the question, you might get a sense of a prospective tenant's urgency. If the individual you're evaluating wishes to move that instant, there's something surely amiss. This may not be accurate in every circumstance, but the point is to gain a sense of how serious they are. You would not want to lease or even exhibit your property until it's perfect.
- Are you, or anyone else planning to move in here, a smoker?
What is your stance on smoking? You can inform your prospective tenant whether or not smoking is prohibited within the rental property. You can ask this question to eliminate prospects that do not meet your tenancy requirements.
- What is the reason behind your plan to change residence?
Being the landlord, one of the things you should ask potential tenants is why they are considering moving. It might be for personal purposes, such as relocating to a more pleasant area or being nearer to school or work. Also it's possible that they didn't get on well with their former landlord or a neighbor. Whichever the justification, you must always bring this up in order to obtain a good understanding of your prospective future tenant.
- Is it acceptable if I approach any of your prior employers or landlords?
All landlords should take character recommendation letters with a serious attitude. It's critical to be able to contact past landlords or employers to get a clearer understanding of your new tenant's character and mindset. If they are on time? Willing and capable to take responsibility? How clean and organized they are? If your possible tenant hesitates to agree, you'll almost certainly be renting to a negative person.
- Would it be alright with you if I were to run a background check on you?
A reference check should be a standard component of your hiring procedure. It's incredibly simple to join up for a landlord service agency that does this. You can learn about previous evictions, creditworthiness, prior judgments, pending lawsuits, and much more. If you pose the question, your prospective tenant may decide not to pursue the application process if they have anything to conceal.
- The number of people you would be sharing your residence with?
One of the most significant questions to ask is how many individuals will reside with the person you're speaking with. When it comes to restricting the number of residents in your rental property, keep in mind that there are fair housing standards to follow. The official occupancy threshold is two persons in a bedroom plus one, as per Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Keep in mind not to inquire about their marital status or children. Try keeping the question general and pertinent.
- What is the source of your income?
What they exactly do for a living is an essential thing to inquire about. This might help you anticipate the sort of timelines you'll encounter when or if you rent out to them. Would routine inspections pose a problem or not?
- Do you have a solid referral from your existing landlord?
I've still to discover a credible explanation as to how a present landlord can't give a decent referral or endorsement, assuming the tenant is not truly awful. It's necessary to make sure that your tenant is civilized enough to create a positive connection with you. This inquiry will provide you a lot of information about whether or not this is doable.
- What is your regular remuneration/income?
Your tenant's earnings should be nearly thrice your asking rent, as per the regulatory benchmarks and requirements. Requesting information about a possible tenant's average payout will quickly eliminate many prospects who don't fulfil your specifications. You can also inquire about how they intend to verify employment and salary to ensure they are aware of the criteria.
- Would you be interested in signing a one-year lease/rental agreement?
This query may provide you with additional information on your prospective tenant's reliability. Do they intend to stay in the area? Do they avoid commitment because they move around so much? Remember how inconvenient and costly turnovers may be.
- Would you be ready to sign a lease with a security deposit and the first month's rent?
It's imperative to secure your security deposit on the first day of your lease agreement. Allowing your prospective tenant to pay their deposit afterwards or in installment payments is often considered bad a business practice. This is an indication of financial mismanagement. For the remainder of your lease, you will most certainly struggle to get your rent payments timely.
- Have you ever been evicted before?
What we're looking for is how transparent and upfront your potential tenant is. If they agree to your questions, follow up with extra inquiries to understand more about the situation and the like, it’s a good indicator. However, if they respond with a no to your questionnaire, it’s a red flag, and when or if you continue the process yourself, you are likely to discover they are lying.
- Do you own any animals/pets?
Another perplexing subject. Please bear in mind that under fair housing laws, a landlord cannot refuse a candidate because they require a service animal. You can, nonetheless, establish a no-pet rule or impose restrictions on the kind of pets you permit, as well as their breed, size, and other parameters. Animals can be charged extra security deposits.
Landlords and property agents/managers are not authorized to address/inquire about the following issues;
I can hardly emphasize this enough: when discussing things and going through the screening process, always keep fair housing legislation in consideration. You must keep your questions for interested tenants ethical and legitimate. As per the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) website, inquiries on ethnicity, lineage, nationality, residency, native tongue, age, faith, disabilities, sex, sexual preference, gender orientation, genetic data/info, marriage and family history, income stream, military status etc. ought not to be asked or mentioned.
Things not to inquire about when talking to a potential future tenant;
- Country born in
- Bank account balance
- Religion in practice
- Marital Status
- Use of a support animal
- Arrested or convicted of any crime