How to Choose Tenants
For those of you wondering how to choose tenants, turn to the latest in interviewing science - ask for evidence. The best prediction of how a tenant will behave is how they have behaved in the past.
If you want to determine a potential tenant's trustworthiness, then ask yourself... how does a trustworthy person behave?
Then with that "criteria" in mind, ask the applicant to... "Give me the best example of a time when someone entrusted you with something very important." If they tell you a powerful story that contains behavior similar to what you think you want, then ask for reference information and confirm it.
If you want to determine the probability that this person will pay and stay, then ask them to... "Please tell me about the best rental relationship you've ever had". Ask for references and check it out.
If the person is new to renting, let them establish their credentials with someone else first OR.... Ask "Please tell me about a relationship that you have had in the recent past with someone who is at least 40 yrs old and that will best illustrate why you are likely to be a good tenant". Get the reference details and follow up.
When following up on references, don't accept a "golly gee whiz" response either. Ask for a specific example of how this applicant earned their reputation for dependability with this person. If you don't have specific examples and specific data... don't speculate or infer. As Joe Friday would say, "the facts ma'am please... just the facts"
Editor's Comments: Greg, thank you for your clever and original advice on how to choose tenants. We feel that your method of choosing tenants works especially well against bad tenants in sheep's clothing. These problem tenants are often seasoned liars who give a good first impression, but your one-of-a-kind questions will most likely catch them off-guard.