11 Questions to Ask Potential Tenants - RentingSmart

11 Questions to Ask Potential Tenants

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11 Questions to Ask Potential Tenants (Before Signing a Lease)

Below are 11 questions you should ask all potential tenants.

Note that if a tenant is asking you to open a property for a private inspection, we suggest you ask as many of these questions over the phone before doing so to avoid wasting your time if they’re clearly not suitable.

1 – Why are you moving?

Disputes with neighbours or a previous landlord may be a cause for concern. If this is the case, investigate (ask questions) as best as you can to understand the issues.

2 – What’s your employment situation?
Will these people have a steady income to be able to pay the rent each period, on time? Follow up by asking how long they have been with their current employer (job stability).

3 – How much do you earn?
Following on from the previous question, a general rule is that each period, a tenant should earn two and a half times their rent.

4 – Do you have any credit card debts or other expenses?
Does this person have additional debts putting strain on their ability to pay the rent on time each period?

5 – Can you provide references from your employer and previous landlord?
You’re looking for third party validation that they’re reliable and trustworthy.

6 – How many people will be living in the property?
Two people per bedroom is the most you should consider, but it is your decision. More tenants create more wear and tear, and higher water bills (this may be an important factor if you are paying for it).

7 – Do you have pets?
It is your choice if you are willing to allow pets into your property, as they may represent an additional risk. Note that tenants with pets may be willing to pay a higher rent as there is less supply in the market.

8 – Have you ever been evicted?
If the tenant has been previously evicted, this would be a big red flag and something which needs to be explored.

9 – When would you want to move in?
Important information for you.

10 – Do you have any questions?
It’s important to give your prospective tenant the chance to ask their own questions.

11 – Are you a smoker?
Do you want smokers in your rental property? We’ve known landlords who have added additional terms to the agreement such as the mandatory use of professional steam cleaners to clean the carpets on vacating the property.