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Tenant screening question you should & shouldn’t ask

three people having an interview

Considering someone for your rental property? Make sure to screen your prospective tenant to evaluate whether they’re the right fit. This will help you determine if they can fulfill the rental agreement, pay their dues on time, and take good care of your property.

The interview is perhaps the most important part of the tenant screening process. Here are the right questions to ask and queries to avoid during this stage.

Essential questions to ask prospective tenants:

  1. How long have you been living in your current home?

    A good tenant is also a long-term tenant. The duration of an applicant’s stay in their previous homes will give you an idea if they might be in it for the long term or if they are prone to jumping from one property to another.

  2. Why do you want to move to a new home?

    They may be moving closer to their job or needing more space. But you might also spot red flags, particularly if they’re moving because of problems with their previous landlord or neighbors or they’ve been evicted.

  3. Can you give an estimate of your current income?

    The industry standard is that the renter’s monthly income should be at least three times the monthly rent. This is to ensure that they are making enough to cover their dues plus other expenses.

  4. Have you ever been evicted?

    Give your applicant a chance to explain their side of the story if they’ve been evicted. If the reason was financial, they may be in better circumstances now and are more capable of keeping their end of the bargain.

    But if they were evicted for behavior issues, you may just end up with a problem on your hands. Take note of the number of times they’ve been evicted as well.

  5. Do you have pets?

    If pets aren’t allowed in your rental, ask this question right away. It will save both of you time and effort in case they have a pet. On the other hand, if you do allow pets, it is a good time to let them know if you have any pet restrictions or additional pet fees.

You should also ask prospective tenants if they’ll be moving in alone or otherwise, when they want to move in, and if they have any questions for you.

Don’t ask these questions

As a landlord, it is essential to be aware of tenant screening laws. The Fair Housing Act was established to avoid discriminatory practices based on sex, race, color, religion, and disability, among other things. With that in mind, it is avoid asking the following questions:

  • Where were you born?
  • What church do you go to?
  • What is your sexual orientation?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Have you been arrested?

If a question is outside your regular qualifying standards, it is best not to ask.

Do you need more tips for tenant screening and property management in Ogden, Utah? Our team is always ready to assist you. Contact Destination Properties at 801.745.2009 or email info(at)destinationproperties(dotted)com.