Are you new to renting? Don't know where to find responsible tenants?
Craigslist isn't the answer. The people looking for places on Craigslist hardly ever consent to tenant screening questions.
Don't know what those are? You can learn about them below.
Tenant Screening Questions
You don't want just anyone living in your property you've invested so much in. Giving them a short interview is a good way to find a good fit.
1. Why Are You Looking For a New Place To Live?
A lot of people need somewhere new to live for innocent reasons. Maybe they broke up with a partner they live with or they want to shorten their commute.
Then there are other people who are being kicked out or evicted. While evictions are visible on someones credit score, you may not have processed that yet.
If they cite they were having disagreements with roommates, then what kind? They don't have to go into full detail for you but get a feel for their mood around the subject.
2. Do You Have Pets?
It's getting harder and harder to deny tenants with pets, seeing as people are getting support animal certificates left and right. Plus, who doesn't love a dog or a small cat?
If you don't allow pets, you need to let this be known clearly on the application. Are there breed restrictions you have in place?
Does their animal fit within them? For example, most complexes don't allow "bully breeds" like any type of pitbull. Cats are less cost to landlords, but you will have to deeply clean carpets after they move out.
3. Do You Have References or Records?
When you move someone into one of your properties, you want to know they regularly pay their rent. Most apartment complexes will provide a ledger to the current tenant to prove their payment history, upon request.
None of us are perfect, so if the rent is less than two days late, it's usually just an oversight. Offer to let your tenant set up automatic rent payments for their convenience and yours.
4. Is There Anything I Need to Know About Your Background Check?
Some people have pasts and it doesn't necessarily make them a bad person. But if they have things on their records like sexual crimes or anything financial related - you have the right not to rent to them.
Violent crimes are even more reason to keep this person away from your community. It's up to you what you consider grounds for rejection.
5. Are You Willing to Sign a 1 Year Long Lease?
Depending on the time of year, most people expect to sign for the next twelve months or until the next move-out period. For student housing, that's usually the end of July or beginning of August.
But if they're only planning on living in your property for three months and finding someone to sublet - that's a good thing to know.
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can continue to process their application with faith. Anything they didn't tell you will show up in their background or credit report.
Tenant screening questions are like trimming the fat off meat. You do it before you cook (commit), not after.
Find someone you like? Run through this checklist before you hand over the keys.