One of the most crucial steps in processing a potential tenant is the interview. Learn what questions will let you know more about them and their answers will tell you if they are indeed worthy of being your tenant.
Searching for a qualified tenant for a rental requires proper screening, and this includes the interview. Whether you talk to them face-to-face or over the phone, the right questions will let you in on several important points that will tell you if the person is the ideal tenant you’re looking for. Here are some inquiries that you should make if you’re seeking a tenant for your house, apartment or condo for rent.
“What made you decide to move?”
The person’s answer is crucial to letting you know what kind of person he is. If his reasons for moving include a change in career, the need for more room and the desire to be closer to family, then you’re safe. Be wary of certain explanations that may be tell-tale signs of the kind of tenant he is, such as eviction from his last rental or constant arguments with previous landlords or neighbors.
“How much do you make?”
Asking this question will let you know if the tenant will be able to pay the rent regularly and on time. Make sure that the tenant earns more than enough to pay for rent and average expenses. Most tenants are aware that the ideal situation will be to spend 25-30% of their income on rent, so this is also something that you ought to use as a guideline.
“Will you allow me to run a credit check?”
Of course the answer that the person will give regarding his income won’t tell you everything about his financial situation. A credit check will let you know if he has any outstanding debt and how well he is handling it. Remember to have his permission on paper to keep everything official.
“How many are moving into the rental?”
Preferably, you should look for a family that will be able to stick to a two-per-room living set-up, especially if you’re renting out a condo or apartment. Remember: the more people in the rental, the bigger the chance that the property will be subject to damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear.
“Do you have any references?”
If the potential renter can’t produce any at that moment or anytime in the near future, he may be hiding something. It’s important to ask for reference from their employer so you can confirm that they do have a job and that they earn the amount they claim to. Also, a recommendation from a previous landlord will let you know how the person is as a renter, and will let you confirm that he’s not relocating for reasons like eviction and conflict.
“Do you have any questions for me?”
Any good relationship starts with communication, so you have to allow the person to ask questions, too. Some of their questions may be on your policies regarding pets, smoking and noise, so be prepared to be completely honest about these issues. Make sure that you’re also open to any negative feedback that they might have; this will give you a chance to make changes to appease them or any other prospective tenant, for that matter.
Choose your questions wisely and phrase them well; you don’t want the encounter to turn into an interrogation. Be friendly and make the person feel comfortable to increase your chances of getting honest answers that will help you determine if they are the right people to rent your property to.
Jillian Cariola, Writer