8 Tenant Pre-Screening Questions

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545653437_5a1b7b17c0_zThe majority of tenant problems can actually be eliminated during the screening process. The very first step is pre-screening when you get an initial phone call or email inquiry to rent your property.  You can save yourself valuable time and energy by pre-screening before doing viewings. Below are 8 valuable questions you should ask before setting up a viewing:

1. What is your Reason for Moving?

Though people will often filter their responses this question can still provide insight into issues that the tenant may have had with their previous landlord. Make notes as to the reason and if you call their current landlord during the application process ensure that the story is consistent.

2.  What is the number of people moving in and their relationship?

More people moving into a property could mean more wear and tear on your property. You also want to make sure that Health and Safety Laws aren’t being violated.

3.  What is your intended lease term?

I suggest under most circumstances renting for no-shorter than a 12-month period. If the prospective tenant is looking for short term accommodation both you and the renter can quickly move on.

4.  What’s your Preferred Occupancy date?

If a tenant is looking to move in very quickly this could be a red flag. Furthermore, if your property is currently rented the date will need to work with when the current tenant is moving out.

5.  Do you own Pets (Y or N)? If yes what type of pet and how many?

You’ll need to determine if your unit is pet friendly. Furthermore if you’re renting a condo apartment or building you’ll need to ensure that their pets and number of pets are allowed under condo bylaws.

6.  Are you looking for a smoking friendly accommodation? (Y or N)

Ask if the tenant is looking for a smoking friendly unit. If you rent to someone who smokes and they smoke inside consistently this can be an issue to re-rent the property.

7.  How would you self-assess your credit?

You’ll have to do a credit check during the application process, but ask them to self-assess whether their credit is Excellent, Good, Average, or Bad. Prospective tenants will often let you know of credit issues upfront.

8.  What is your occupation?

This will determine if the prospective tenant is currently employed. During the application process you’ll need to verify their employment and proof of income.


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Elias Zeekeh, MBA, CPA, CMA

Real Estate Investor & Blogger

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