A survey conducted by Census Bureau in 2021 indicated that 10 percent of renters in the US were behind on rent. Thus, landlords need to know how to conduct a tenant interview?
Agreeing to let a stranger sign a six-month tenancy or longer requires you to meet potential tenants in person. The in-person conversation is essential since you can’t rely on background checks alone.
However, choosing the right tenants involves conducting an extensive tenant interview. The following tenant interview questions will help you find the right tenant.
1. When Are You Planning to Move In?
This is an important screening question because it will establish whether the applicant is ready to move in. You probably want the vacancies to be filled immediately. If potential tenants can’t move in until a month later, you should consider finding tenants who will move in immediately.
You should always ask potential tenants this question first; only then can you determine whether their timeline will work for you. If potential tenants provide you with an unsatisfactory timeline, you don’t need to continue with the screening process.
2. Do You Have Pets?
You should ask potential tenants whether they own pets before proceeding with formal screening.
If you don’t accept pets and the applicant owns one, you will not need to continue with the interview unless they are willing to do away with them. Let the tenants know about your policy if you allow pets but have restrictions.
For instance, you may only permit only specific number and pets size. Also, let the applicant know about the fee or deposits required for animals. Asking this question and letting the potential applicant know about your policy will save you time and effort.
However, hiring a property manager can help you avoid the time-consuming tenants’ screening process.
3. Where Are You Currently Residing?
This simple question will let you learn about the tenant’s life story. The response you will get will help you gauge whether they are the right fit for your rental property.
Additionally, ask about the duration they have stayed in their current residence. This will help you determine whether the tenant is stable or keeps moving from one property to another. If you are looking for long-term renters, you won’t like tenants who lack stability.
You must have an insight into the current situation of potential tenants.
4. Why Are You Moving?
Don’t forget to ask potential renters why they are moving?
It is a simple question but will help you uncover past issues like prior evictions. Some of the explanations that may be satisfactory include; they have outgrown their current apartment or want to save time they spend commuting to work.
However, you should not agree with the applicant’s answers at face value. Follow up with the landlord’s reference to ensure the applicant pays on time and isn’t facing an eviction.
5. What Is Your Current Rapport With Your Landlord?
If a tenant has a good rapport with their current landlord, you should expect the same when you allow them; the opposite is true.
Thus, ask them about their experience with the landlord in their current residence. They will probably highlight what is essential to them. Be sure to note their tone and body language.
It will give you a clue about their character.
If the applicant raised critical issues, like neglected repairs by the previous landlord, take that opportunity to reassure them about the usual property maintenance process.
6. What Is Your Current Line of Work?
This is a more practical question, but it will provide you with an insight into the living habits of the applicant.
This question will ensure that you are not renting to criminals or tenants who will cause disturbances. Additionally, their information will help you determine whether they are credit-worthy.
However, you should be smart when asking these questions. Remember, it is not an interrogation. Only ask them when you feel like you are getting along well with potential tenants.
7. How Many People Will Occupy the Unit?
This question will help determine whether the unit has enough bedrooms for all occupants. For instance, it won’t be a good idea for five friends to stay in a one-bedroom apartment.
Additionally, you must know whether the tenancy will be signed jointly. Knowing who will occupy your property and who is liable for rent payment is essential to ensure the tenancy terms and conditions are followed.
You should not accept a person over 18 living on your property without being named on the tenancy agreement.
8. Do You Smoke?
This might be a question that might not need an answer.
But, you must let potential renters know about the smoking policy and the consequences that may follow if it is neglected. The smoking policy must be included in your rental or lease agreement.
9. Have You Ever Been Involved in a Crime?
According to a survey by SmartMove, 60 percent of landlords believe that criminal history is more important than credit history is the most important item when conducting tenant screening.
Thus, it is not only essential to ask potential renters about their criminal history, but also to conduct a background check to verify their claim. This will help you avoid the risks associated with renting criminals.
10. Have You Ever Been Evicted?
A thorough screening can answer this question, but you should also consider allowing potential renters to explain their situation. If potential renters say yes, but proceed by justifying the situation, you may be able to gauge whether to accept them.
Find the Right Tenant Interview Questions
You can ask many tenant interview questions before agreeing to rent them. The applicant’s answers may provide you with information you shouldn’t wholly trust.
You need to verify whether the information provided is correct by conducting a background check. Your goal is to avoid letting in the wrong tenants. Only allow an applicant to sign a rental agreement when you are fully satisfied they will be good tenants.
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