Dalena Properties
Apr 29 2016

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Tags: landlords  tenants  screening tenants  renting  rental agreement 

10 Questions Landlords Ask Tenants
A typical rental agreement between tenant and landlord when leasing a property.

Our previous article, discussed how landlords avoid bad tenants. In this article, we look at the screening process of potential tenants and what kind of questions to expect from prospective landlords.

A Landlord's objective is always to find the best possible tenant for their investment. Some that come to mind are not just tenants who will pay their rent on time, but also a tenant who will look after their investment, as if it were their own.

Landlords need to carefully consider the price they set for the property rental. They need to keep the rental in line with similar properties in the area, or they may lose out to the competition.

A good landlord should always ensure their property is in top condition to attract the best tenants. They should ensure that any leaks or faulty wiring is repaired before advertising their property and make sure the property is clean and tidy, to avoid attracting the wrong tenant.

Keeping your property updated with modern facilities and amenities, is always a good idea as it will not only increase your property value, but make it more attractive to the more discerning tenant.

Landlords also need to consider if they will be offering their property as furnished or unfurnished, which could appeal to different demographics of the market. For example students or young couples who do not have furniture or many possessions may be attracted by renting a furnished apartment.

In some cases, the landlord may refer these duties to a reputable rental agency, to take care of the screening and qualifying of potential tenants. These rental agencies have a clear insight of the renting process and are thorough and knowledgeable in asking the right questions and finding the right tenant.

1. Pre-Qualifying Questions

A good landlord should always have a list of pre-qualifying questions available for when potential clients require about the property. This is usually done by phone, email or through an internet website.

By doing this, landlords are able to eliminate tenants immediately who do not quality, without even going any further. During this conversation, the landlord should advise the tenant of the monthly rental fee, deposit or the security fee for the first month's rent.

This is also a good opportunity to find out more about the tenant whom is applying to occupy your premises.

Here are some questions a landlord may ask you.

1.1. Do you or your wife smoke?
1.2. Do you have any pets or children?
1.3. How many people intend to move into the premises?
1.4. When would you plan on moving in?
1.5. What is your intended rental period?

Landlords should remember to ask these questions politely and the client should not have any problem answering them. A good landlord should also make certain essential information clear to the tenant, such as the number of people allowed to occupy the premises and if the property in pet friendly or not.

2. Initial Meeting and Observation of Tenant.

2.1. Punctuality

A good landlord will observe the potential tenant from their initial meeting, which is usually to meet with the tenant and so they can view the property for the first time. The first thing they will notice is your punctuality for the appointment. Did you arrive on time or were you late for the appointment?

While some excuses may be valid, such as having difficulties finding the address, it is best to avoid such situations, by leaving well in advance and rather arriving early than late. It has also been said that tenants who are not punctual for the viewing, may not be punctual in paying their rent either.

2.2. Number of people who arrive to view the property

Does the number of people who arrive to view the property conflict with the number of people indicated during the initial telephone conversation, or on the tenants application form?

As a reputable landlord, you need to check this with your tenant before signing any rental agreement. The more people occupying a premises means the more wear the property will endure and the more damage that could endure to the property. Overcrowding is never a good idea.

The number of people occupying a property should have already been stipulated in the advertisement of the property, or during the initial pre-screening telephone call. It is up to the landlord to decide if the tenant can share the rental with other occupants and whether or not children are allowed.

Additionally, the body corporate of an apartment or townhouse will usually stipulate the number of people allowed to occupy a single premises and the number of pets allowed per property.

3. Post Qualifying Questions

At this stage of the search you have passed the initial screening test, as well the pre-qualifying questions. You are impressed with property during your initial viewing and were able to answer the landlord's questions to satisfaction. Now is the time the landlord would do the final checks before signing off on the lease agreement.

Here are a few additional questions you could expect that could either qualify or disqualify you.

3.1. Will you have the first month's rent and security deposit available on move in?

You should not expect the landlord to deviate from this. Any tenant that makes excuses or tries to negotiate paying off the deposit in installments is obviously either in debt or not in a good financial position and will almost certainly have problems paying later on.

Those tenants, who do not agree to the full fee up front, are not the kind of tenants worth having for any landlord, so make sure that you can agree to this from the start.

3.2. Will you consent to a background and a credit check?

A good tenant should l not have any problem consenting to a background check or credit check, if deemed necessary by the landlord.

3.3. What is your occupation and monthly income?

As discussed in our previous article - "Warning Signs of Bad Tenants", the tenant's gross monthly income should be at least 2-3 times the monthly rental of your property. This question can also be asked at the beginning on the tenant's application form.

The landlord may also ask for proof of income, but if the tenant is self-employed you may be required to provide a little more proof that business actually exists. A business card or registration of the CC or Company will usually suffice in this situation.

3.4. Can you supply some references from past landlords?

The landlord may also ask you for references of past landlords. These references from a previous landlord will help to answer other questions the landlord may have about the tenant, such as: "Was he a good tenant?", "Did they take care and look after the property?", "Did he pay their rent on time?", "How long did she rent for?" "Did they keep any pets?" and "What condition did they leave the premises in?"

Related Article: Warning Signs of Bad Tenants

2 Comments

Blog Comment

Extremely helpful article! I wish I read it before. Thank you!

Posted By Kayla

Blog Comment

Great list of questions.rn It seems only one issue didn’t mentioned here. I’m talking about renters insurance. I never thought it could be so important until I read this article https://rentberry.com/blog/potential-tenant-interview. Moreover, landlords should not only ask whether the tenants have renters insurance or not, but also require them to obtain that policy. It is also beneficial to have the tenant show proof of such insurance coverage.

Posted By Gorman Lisa

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