Articles Property Agent Guide 10 Important Questions to Ask When Screening Potential Renters

10 Important Questions to Ask When Screening Potential Renters

Use these 10 important questions to screen applicants and find the most qualified tenant for your rental property.

2022 has arrived – a brand new year to explore new careers, try new things, and for some, move to new homes. As landlords and property managers, it’s good to welcome new tenants to fill up apartment vacancies. However, that does not mean anybody is welcome. Instead of risking a lease with unqualified tenants, pre-screen applicants and pick the best fit for your rental property with our generated list of questions.

1. Why are you moving?

There are multiple reasons as to why someone may want to move. Asking this question can help you get an idea of their preferences, personality, or frequency of move. It is important to note that it is not a red flag when a tenant tends to move around frequently. Unless they have a history of being kicked out by landlords, it could just be because the marketplace is competitive and rental prices tend to increase a lot.

2. How long do you plan to lease?

The most common lease length that potential tenants look for ranges from 6 months to a year. Others may request a longer-term lease to avoid rental increases. It is important to discuss the available options before they even decide to lease in case you don’t have what they are looking for.

3. What date do you plan to move in?

This is one of the most important questions to ask on this list. If you have an open vacancy that needs to be filled up immediately – but the tenant still has an existing lease that will end not so soon – then they may not be the best tenant for you. This also takes into consideration the time to prepare the unit for the new tenant or sort out matters with the old tenant leaving the property.

4. How many people will be living in the household?

Overcrowding can be an issue when it comes to renting out a property. Tenants may want to save more money by sharing the rent with multiple people, even when the property is small. This is an important question to ask to accommodate the limited number of tenants allowed for the sake of your property.

5. Do you smoke? Or does anyone in the household smoke?

Regardless of whether there is an anti-smoking policy within the area, it is essential to ask if they smoke so you can discuss any rules or limitations when it comes to smoking within the property.  

6. Do you have any pets?

Not everyone fully reads the rules and regulations of the development, so it’s best to ask them if they plan on moving in with pets upfront. If they do, ask the breed and size of their pet so that you can provide detailed restrictions if any.

7. Will you need a parking space?

This is especially important for condominium renters. Parking spaces are considered separate from the unit for most developments. If you have an available parking space, you may offer that for rent as well.

8. What is your occupation?

It is considered rude in Philippine culture to ask for a person’s income. Although, it is important to know if they have the means to pay for their lease – or if someone else is paying it for them. One way to go about this is by asking about their employment status or occupation. In that way, you have an assurance that they have the means to settle fees.

9. Can you pay the security deposit?

This is the perfect time to explain the amount of security deposit to pay and ask if they could pay for it. If they cannot or are not willing to compromise for a more flexible payment, then this is a sign to not continue with screening this tenant.

10. Do you have any questions about the application process?

Give potential tenants to discuss with you the application process by inviting them to ask you questions. This will help both parties be on the same page regarding how the application works.

Bonus: Is there anything I should know before doing a background check?

It is good practice for landlords to ask this question to a potential tenant before proceeding with the application. This allows them to explain their situation if any. Or if you had to find out some other way, you’ll learn that they aren’t honest.

Two women conversing with one writing down notes.

What Not to Ask

The questions listed above are related to the lease and application process and are not by any means targeted to violate their privacy or discriminate against them. There are some questions that landlords and property managers should not ask to avoid being put at legal risk.

Here are some examples of those questions:

-“Where are you born?”

-“Are you single/ married?”

-“What is your religion?”

-“How old are you?”

-“Do you have any disabilities?”

-“Are you straight or part of the LGBTQ+ community?”

Note: If the question is inappropriate to ask, then don’t.