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5 Tenant Screening Questions to Include in Your Interview Process

So it's time for you to start taking applications for your rental property. You want to make sure that you get the best tenants possible, right? That means that you have to go through the tenant screening process.

But what should you ask prospective tenants before you accept their applications? We have a few helpful tenant screening questions that can get you started.

Read on to learn more.

1. What Is Your Income?

The first and most important priority for you as a property investor is making sure that your tenant is able to pay rent. While non-payment isn't a common issue, it's something that you don't want to deal with if you can avoid it.

Monthly income for standard employees is easy. They can provide you with pay stubs to prove their income. For people who make money in alternative ways (such as contractors, freelance workers, or people who receive money from stipends or alimony), it's more complicated.

If pay stubs aren't an option, consider asking for a bank statement, online payment statement, or tax returns.

While it varies, you usually want tenants to make three times the cost of rent every month. 

2. When Would You Want To Move In?

A tenant's ideal move-in date matters. You want to make sure that you have time to prepare the unit but also that it won't be sitting empty for too long.

Most of the time, tenants are flexible (within reason). It's helpful to have a tenant move in on the first of the month to make payments easier but work together to find a time that works for both of you. 

3. Can You Provide References?

So why would a tenant need references?

If your tenant has lived in previous rental properties, it's helpful to seek out landlord references. You're looking for information about their rent payments and their overall behavior. 

If a tenant has never rented a property before, you can ask for character references. This is common amongst younger tenants who may be moving out on their own for the first time. 

4. Do You Have Pets?

As a landlord, you get to make the decision about whether or not you want to allow pets on your property. We advise making this decision carefully.

On one hand, allowing pets may help you find great tenants who otherwise wouldn't be able to rent with you. You're expanding your overall reach. On the other hand, pets might cause damage to your property.

Most of the time, the best option is to ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damage and allow pets on a case-by-case basis.

Remember, if a prospective tenant has an assistance animal, you can not reject them based on that.

5. Do You Smoke? 

It's uncommon to have smoke-friendly apartments now. Asking whether or not a prospective tenant smokes will help you determine if they're going to cause smoke damage to your rental property.

Because many people still smoke (and need to rent), you needn't reject people for smoking habits outright. Just make sure that they're well aware of your smoking policies and ensure that they agree to them before you let them rent from you.

Keep These Tenant Screening Questions In Mind

Tenant screening doesn't have to be challenging. With a few brief questions, you can find responsible tenants that you'll love to have on your property. Use these tenant screening questions next time you're taking applications!

Are you looking for help managing your rental property in Salt Lake City, Utah? Our team at Wolfnest Property Management wants to help. Contact us so we can start working together today.

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