Tenant Screening: Top 10 Questions You Should Be Asking

There are several steps that are involved in accepting a tenant into your property. You have set the right rent price, good advertisement has been done, and you have one or multiple prospective tenants reaching out to you. Then, the next step is to assess the background of these potential tenants. This represents an essential point in finding the right tenant.

It is imperative to understand that by increasing the number of applicants, you raise your chances of finding the right tenant. While this is true, there is a great need to verify the backgrounds of these tenants. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. After all, these strangers could be anything or anyone.

When you market a vacant property, you should expect different forms of contact from potential tenants. You can create an online survey, which can ask a wide range of questions. These surveys will reveal to you if you have found the right tenant for your rental property while weeding out the wrong ones.

With these in mind, this comprehensive guide will look into the various screening questions that landlords must ask prospective tenants. Keep reading to explore more!

Top Questions to Ask Your Tenants

Before you can allow a stranger to rent your property, you need to ask them important questions and this is often exciting. For this reason, some top questions you can consider are discussed in this section. So, keep on reading!

Do you agree to a credit or background check?

If you wish to get a good idea of a tenant’s finances, this is the right question to ask. Yet, it is worth pointing out that there will be a need for written consent to perform these consents. Typically, this is given whenever the tenant signs the privacy statement on the application form.

How long have you lived in your current residence?

If a prospective tenant has lived in a property for a long period without any issue with their old landlord, then there is a high possibility that you will have no issue with them once they start living in your property. On the other hand, if you discover that who you have is a troublemaker, then there is no better option than to turn them away. After all, having avoidable issues with your tenants is not healthy.

Are you employed?

Another way for landlords to be sure about the financial capacity of a tenant is to learn about their employment status, as well as the amount of money they make as income. Affordability will always be an important factor for all parties involved. It is worth stressing that a tenant’s monthly rent should not be more than 30% of their monthly income.

Why are you moving in and when?

This exposes you to how fast the tenant wishes to move in. If they are in a rush to move in, then you must ensure that their reasons are not associated with eviction or a fight in their old neighborhoods.

Have you ever been evicted from a property?

While this might be similar to the last question, this is a precise question that lets you know the kind of situation they left behind in their old neighborhoods. This question shouldn’t necessarily end their chances and a yes should never be the end of the survey. Even if there is an eviction, the fault might be from the previous landlord. Despite this, you should not avoid asking this important question.

Who and how many people will be living on the property?

Different types of tenants are not without their benefits and issues. Some tenants might only rent the house for their family members or friends. Besides this, the number of squatters other tenants can accommodate has no limit. To ensure that your house is not a gathering place for strangers, you should set a number of people that can live in an apartment, as well as who will live there.

Do you smoke?

Even though smoking is not an uncommon habit among people, it is a question that you must ask. After all, not everyone can tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke. If you have other tenants that are asthmatic, then allowing a smoker rent an apartment on your property can result in serious trouble.

Do you own a pet?

This question shares some similarities with the last one. It is no strange news that most people love pets, and if your tenant is a pet owner, then you might need to include the responsibilities of a pet owner in the tenancy agreement. Besides this, you can also examine the pet to ensure that they are in good health.

Do you have references from previous landlords or employers?

This question allows you to have direct contact with references. Ensure that you take your time to ask them important questions relating to the prospective tenant’s reliability and attitude.

Do you have any questions for us?

It is imperative that you are not the only one asking the tenants the questions. Indeed, if you are trying to find the right tenants for your property, you must know that the tenants are also hoping to get a good value for their money as well. When you accommodate questions, you are showing the renters that you have nothing to hide and they have nothing to fear.


Making your property available for rent comes with various benefits, which cannot be ignored. One of these perks involves the monthly or yearly income you stand the chance of enjoying. However, it is never easy to co-exist – or create an idyllic environment – with strangers. After all, different people have different backgrounds and beliefs. For this reason, you must ensure that you include surveys in the renting process. This will come in the form of short, but crucial questions that they must answer. This will ensure that you can verify the backgrounds of these renters while increasing your chances of finding a good tenant for your property.


Marla Coffin
Marla Coffin