Best Tenant Screening Questions to Ask

Choosing tenants can be tiring so having a solid list of tenant screening questions on the ready will make your life so much easier. Read on to learn what questions to ask when renting a house.

Screening Tenants Questions to Ask Prospective Renters

Before we begin, it's important to know that you have to prepare two sets of questions: one set for potential tenants and another set for their landlords and employers (to ask references).

Whether you're doing a phone or face-to-face interview, be wary of anyone who hesitates or outright refuses to answer any of the questions below. This may indicate he or she is lying or has something to hide.

From our personal observations, sincere and honest applicants are often more than happy to answer any tenant questions as long as they are reasonable and appropriate (see below):

  • What is your name, phone number and current address?

  • What is your job and who is current employer?

  • If you don't have a job, what is your income source? (e.g. from parents or welfare support)

  • What is your credit score? Do you have a credit report that you can show me?

  • How many people will be staying on the property with you?

  • Do you have any children or elderly who will staying with you? If yes, what are their ages?

  • Do you have any pets? If yes, what types of pets are they?

  • Are you a smoker? Will you be staying with anyone who smokes?

  • What is your reason for leaving your current address?

  • What are the contact details of your current and previous landlords?

Tenant Screening Questions for Landlords and Employers

Landlord tenant questions are just one part of the process when it comes to screening tenants. You will need to verify their answers by getting references from their previous landlords and employers.

Landlord references are essential. Whenever possible, ask for references from more than one landlord - For all you know, the applicant may be a bad tenant and their current landlord is giving him a glowing testimonial just to get rid of him.

Standard reference check questions to ask current and previous landlords:

  • When and how long did the person rent the property from you?

  • Did the person pay the rent on time?

  • Did the person break any landlord tenant laws or lease agreement terms?

  • Were there any complaints from the other tenants or neighbors?

  • Was there any property damage (other than normal wear and tear)?

  • What is the reason for ending your lease with the person?

  • Would you rent to this person again?

Standard tenant screening questions to ask his or her current employer:

  • When was the person employed by you?

  • Does the person earn a fixed salary or commission?

  • Is the person holding a part-time or full-time job?

  • What is the person's current wage? (verify this amount with the applicant's pay slip)

Tenant Screening