Searching for the right tenant is a process. You need to start the search with an excellent and accurate listing. It should have clear, high-quality imagery. It should include the amenities and specifics of the property. The right rental price should also be chosen. This means looking at what competitors are pricing their rentals for. It also means making your showings convenient. Once tenants do apply for your rental, it’s essential they go through an advanced screening process.
During the screening process, there are several questions you should ask to help you determine if the tenant is a good fit. Some of those questions include:
- When would you like to move in? One of the things you want to ask is when the tenants plan to move in. Ideally, you want a tenant who can move in sooner rather than later so you can fill the vacancy.
- Why are you moving? Asking the tenant what their reason is for moving can help you determine if there is cause for concern. It also helps you determine what the tenant’s expectations are for the property they rent.
- How long did you stay at your last place? This can help you see if the tenants tend to stay at one place for a while or if they tend to rent for shorter periods. Obviously, a tenant who stays longer is better for your bottom line.
- Who is moving into the rental? You need to know how many people are planning to move in with the applicant. The applicant could be under the impression that they can apply for themselves without mentioning others who plan to rent with them. They could also be applying for their family. It’s important to ensure the number of people moving in doesn’t violate any laws.
- Do you have any pets? Whether you allow pets or not, it’s important to know what to expect. If you don’t allow pets, this will be a deal-breaker, unless the applicant has an assistance animal. “An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.” You can learn about the “obligations of housing providers” on the Hud website. If you do allow pets, it’s important to set rules about their size and the number allowed. You may also want to request an additional pet deposit or a monthly pet rental fee.
- How much do you make each month? You need to know that tenants can actually afford the property they’re renting. Sometimes people are overly optimistic about what they’re able to afford. But it can hurt your relationship if they end up not being able to pay the rent. Avoid headaches by asking this question.
- Have you ever been evicted or broken a lease early? Asking either of these questions allows you to find out more information, including the reasons for eviction or breaking a lease. Tread carefully, though. Unless they have a good reason, a history of broken leases or evictions is a flashing red warning sign.
- Do you smoke? Smoking can cause all sorts of issues. It leaves a pungent odor that’s hard to get out of fabrics and carpet, and it can yellow walls. Plus, it’s a fire hazard. If you meet in person, you can always look for signs of if the applicant is a smoker or not. They may come in smelling like cigarette smoke or with a pack protruding from their pocket, for example.
- What expectations do you have for the landlord and the property? This question can help you determine if you and your property align with what the tenant is looking for. For example, are they hoping to be able to reach you via text? Do they want to pay their rent online? Are they looking for certain amenities? Ask them to be open and honest with their answer.
These questions can help you better determine the right tenant for your property. Be upfront about what your property does and doesn’t offer. Make sure they have a clear understanding of your policies and expectations. Let them know what amenities you offer as well. Being clear and honest upfront can reduce the risk of a poor match.
If you’d like help finding the ideal tenants, please reach out to us at PMI. We use industry-leading technology to properly screen each applicant so you can be assured you’re making the right decision.