11 Tenant Screening Questions To Ask New Renters

At NYC Apartment Management, we know how important it is for property owners to find reliable, trustworthy tenants. Fortunately, we have some initial criteria to help you boost your tenant screening process. Have a look at these tenant screening questions designed to help you find the ideal tenant. Feel free to also browse our blog for more tips and advice.

#1: When Do You Plan To Move In?

The first of the pre-screening questions should be about moving dates. Any potential tenant should have a firm idea of their intended move date. This date affects almost everything, from rent start dates to the dates on the lease agreement, if applicable. Make sure you have the move date confirmed and in writing before going further with a leasing process.

#2: How Many Tenants Are Moving In?

As a property owner, you know the limits of your property, from septic systems to parking arrangements. Ask every prospective tenant whether spouses or partners, children, family members, or roommates may be moving in with them. This information gives you an idea of how many vehicles the tenant may use. It might also help to ask if they will be having frequent overnight guests and how many parking spaces they may need.

#3: Do Any Tenants Smoke?

Smoking can reduce property value and cause damage to walls and other materials. Help protect your real estate investment by asking any potential renter if they smoke. It may also be clever to include a no-smoking clause in your rental agreement to protect your property.

#4: Do You Have Any Pets?

Even the most well-behaved pets can cause unintended damage to a rental property. To help protect your investment, screen prospective tenants for pet ownership. If necessary, choose to charge a pet deposit for select or all animals homed on the property.

#5: Why Are You Moving?

Sometimes a tenant moves due to a bad experience with a previous landlord. Sometimes, families are relocating for better schools, work, or other opportunities. Sometimes, a person may be moving homes because they were evicted or were a poor tenant. As part of deciding on any potential tenant, ask them why they are moving and where they were previously. These answers can help you gauge their personality and determine if they are a reliable tenant.

#6: How Long Did You Live at Your Previous Residence?

While not always an indicator of poor tenancy habits, how long a person stayed in their previous residence might give clues to the type of tenant they may be. Always double-check with the former landlord when possible.

#7: Can You Provide Any Landlord or Employment References?

References always help. As part of the rental application process, ask applying tenants to provide references for either employment history, previous rental experiences, or contact information for their current landlord. Doing so may connect you to people who can vouch for the individual as a trustworthy tenant.

#8: What Is Your Monthly Income?

Monthly income is a strong indicator of whether or not a prospective renter can pay rent or cover a security deposit. If your rent level is consistently out of range for the income of your applicants, it could be worth adjusting your monthly rent as well.

#9: Are You Able To Pay an Application Fee?

When preparing questions to ask potential renters, remember that the application process for multiple tenants can get expensive. A background and credit check costs you time and money, especially if you need to perform these tasks several times.  To save money, ask applicants to pay a nominal application fee.

#10: Have You Ever Been Evicted?

Another good preliminary tenant screening question involves the person’s rental history. It might be a good idea to ask your potential tenants if they have ever been evicted. Remember that this does not necessarily mean they are a bad tenant. If possible, ask them why things did not work out with their previous landlords.

#11: Are You Willing To Submit to a Credit and Background Check?

Sometimes, rental applicants are dishonest. Meet this risk head-on by asking your prospective tenant to submit to a credit or background check.  Often, indicators of criminal and eviction history will appear on a criminal background or credit report. Through this method, you can determine if the tenant ever filed for bankruptcy, defaulted on a bill, faced criminal charges, and why.

Trusted Property Management

Want someone to take the stress out of finding a great tenant? NYC Apartment Management is here to help. We handle any stage of the rental process so that you do not have to, from application to online rent payment. Reach us by phone at 212.787.1214 or visit our website to find your optimal tenant today.