Avoid Bad Tenants with these Top 10 Reference Questions
We’ve all heard the tenant horror stories: late or even outstanding rent, unruly pets, damages to the property (and worse).
Don’t underestimate the screening process. Thoroughly checking your potential tenant’s references will give you surprising insight that will help with your decision-making process, and save you headaches later on.
At the very minimum, ask for references from previous landlords and employers on every rental application.
Here is our top 10 list of reference questions for each:
Questions for Current/Past Landlords
- What is the address of their property?
- Who were the occupants listed on the lease?
- How long was the tenancy?
- What was the tenant’s monthly rental amount?
- Did the tenant consistently pay rent on time?
- Did the tenant maintain the rental property well? Were there any major damages or maintenance issues?
- Did the tenant have any pets?
- Were there any complaints from neighbours or other tenants?
- Why did the tenant leave?
- Would you rent to this tenant again? Why/why not?
Screening Questions for Employers
- Can you confirm that the tenant was/is employed at this company?
- What is the tenant’s monthly salary?
- What was the date of hire?
- What is the tenant’s position in the company?
- What are the terms of employment? Is there a trial or contract period?
- What are the average hours worked?
- Does the tenant come to work on time?
- What are the tenant’s long-term job prospects?
- How do you like working with the tenant?
- Has the tenant ever been reprimanded at work?
Screening Questions for Friends/Family
Sometimes an applicant may offer personal references to supplement their application. While friends and family can be biased, they can paint a more well-rounded picture of the lifestyle and character of the tenant. It might be a good idea to ask:
- How do you know the tenant?
- How long have you known the tenant?
- How does the tenant spend their spare time?
- Have you spent any time in the tenant’s current or previous home? How would you describe it?
- Does the tenant smoke?
- Does the tenant have pets?
- What is his/her marital status?
- Describe their overall character.
Landlords who take their time conducting detailed reference checks are usually able to quickly spot red flags. Compared to the cost of damages or lost rent, this small time investment is definitely a worthwhile investment. Do you know how to distinguish the good from the bad? Check out these 5 Potential Tenant Red Flags.
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