Learn what questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references in order to find the best tenant for your rental that won't cause trouble down the line!
Choosing to let someone live in your rental is always a risk. If they cause considerable property damage, then you’ll definitely fail to turn a profit. In order to avoid this, it’s important to know what questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references.
Do they have any pets or bad habits?
The very first of the questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references is whether they have any pets or bad habits. This is a question you can very easily slot into the conversation, whether you got a personal reference, a work reference, or a reference to one of their previous landlords. The latter, of course, will provide the most reliable information. This is especially important if you are renting to tenants with kids since they can be tempted to try to work around your ban on pets by hiding them from you.
Are they violent or cause problems?
This is another one of the questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references, irrespective of who they are. Friends and family will hesitate to say anything negative about them, but even their hesitation reveals a lot. Naturally, if their boss or previous landlord does reveal a tendency for problematic behavior, you should immediately give up on leasing out your rental to them! Even if they claim the person has changed since then, there’s a chance that they’ll revert to their previous behavior. And you do not want to risk your rental in this manner.
What’s their social life like?
While it may seem like an odd or innocuous question, this is very important. You need to know whether your tenant will feel compelled to organize parties or large social gatherings. While they are not an issue per se, frequent parties or too much alcohol can still lead to serious damage being inflicted on your property. And, if you are renting to roommates, it is doubly sure to check both of their references for this potential pitfall. When people room together, the scale of the social gatherings can grow and increase the potential for your rental to get damaged.
Do they make their payments on time?
This is a question you need to ask the landlords listed on your potential tenant’s references. Their rent payment history immediately reveals whether you will have problems with getting your payments regularly. Of course, some allowances should be made. Running late once or twice over a period of five or six years is more than okay. But, if they have a tendency to run late often, or ask for frequent extensions, then your own budgeting suffers. You won’t be able to rely on their payments, and that might not be something you want to deal with.
What can you tell me about their personality?
This is a question you want to ask the employer or landlord of your potential tenant more so than their friends or family. Family or friends tend to view problematic personality traits far more leniently than they should. A former landlord, however, can attest to the quality of their character more reliably. You do not want to rent out your property to someone confrontational. Or someone who makes an issue out of everything. Once a lease has been signed, you are more or less stuck with them, so make sure they have a personality you can stand for the duration of the lease.
Did they take care of the rental properly?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references. Of course, the only ones who can attest to this are their past landlords. If they haven’t had a previous landlord, and you have their parents as one of the references, you should ask them about the condition of their room at home. The question may seem humorous, but if answered honestly, it can give you a lot of information. Failing that, you can always ask about their tidiness and cleanliness at work. This, too, can provide you with some insight into how they’ll treat your rental.
Were there any unexpected issues?
We have here another question aimed at former landlords. If they ask for clarification, you can ask if any repairs were suddenly needed due to damage inflicted by the tenant. Some damage can be accidental, such as stains or scratches. However, if they’ve broken an appliance or a piece of furniture, it can hint at something worse, even if it was carefully disguised as an accident. If they have a history of breaking things, you probably want to remove your better furniture and decorative pieces. As the experts from hansenbros.com love to point out, they can stay safe in storage for as long as needed.
Did your other tenants have any complaints about them?
One of the best ways to gauge whether a tenant will be problematic is to ask about the complaints of their neighbors. If their former landlord or neighbor can attest that there were no problems, you can rest assured. If there were a qualified property manager looking after the rentals, they’d also be able to provide a lot of pertinent information on this subject. However, you probably don’t want a combative tenant who might disrupt the lives of your other tenants on your property.
Would you let them lease your rental again?
The final of the questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references, if they’re a landlord, of course, is whether they would let them live in their rental again. There is no better way to check whether you want to let them lease out your property. If the answer is no, then even if they’d offered nothing but praise for the tenant previously, you can be assured there was something they’d held back.
Carefully selecting the right tenant for you
By using the questions to ask your prospective tenant’s references well, you’ll be able to find the perfect tenant for your rental! What ‘perfect’ means is different from landlord to landlord, of course. So, make sure to throw in any additional questions you believe are important to you!
Clark Real Estate
305 W. Moana Ste C
Reno, NV 89509