Most people are very selective about where they choose to live. They can spend weeks and even months deciding on where they will move. Well, as a property owner you should be equally choosy about who you decide to rent to. By making the right choice, you are increasing the chances that the new relationship – that of tenant/property owner – will be both productive and prosperous. Let’s, go over some of the most important questions you should ask prospective tenants before allowing them to move on to your property.
- Have you ever broken a lease? Not only should this question be asked in order to help you determine the likelihood that a prospective tenant may not live up to the terms of their lease, but it should also be asked to gauge the potential renter’s honestly. If the tenant has broken a lease before, you should investigate the circumstances behind the incident. You still may wish to rent to a tenant who has broken a lease but you may also wish to require additional securities in order to minimize your risk as a landlord.
- Do you have a checking account? Do you have a savings account? A potential tenant who does not have a bank account may simply have not gotten around to doing so. However, he/she may also not have an account as a way of avoiding a current garnishment or because he/she is hiding illegal income. Though not a deal breaker, be wary if this question is answered in the negative.
- What kind of work do you do? This will help you to determine income and ability to pay. Moreover, since employment in some industries is cyclical, it may also tell you that a potential tenant may face a lay off, etc., in the future.
- How long will you live here? Turnover can be one of the most expensive things a landlord can face. Ask this question to weed out transient applicants who will only cost you money in the long run by occupying a property that someone who intends to stay a while could desire to rent.
- How did you hear about this home? The answer will help you to determine which of your marketing channels is paying off.
Questions to Avoid Asking
Just as important as the questions you should ask of potential tenants, are questions you should avoid in order to lessen the chance of legal action being taken against you. These questions pertain to:
- National origin
- Skin color
- Familial status (e.g. married or single tenants, tenants with or without children)
In short, by screening tenants carefully you will be better able to find well-behaved tenants who will be likely to stay long term. Our Houston property management company can relieve some of the stress of owning a property. When tenants ask “help me rent my house in Houston” we can also be assistance.