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Questions to ask During Reference Checks: A Guide to Getting the Best Tenants

As a landlord, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing high-quality tenants for your rental. By getting to know your potential tenants before making the mistake of renting to a non-ideal one, you can save hundreds of dollars on upkeep and be stress-free, knowing that your payments will come in on time every month.

To get the right tenants for your properties, you will have to do your due diligence and learn about the renters' backgrounds and credit histories, as well as who they are as people.

Below is your landlord guide for finding the best tenants for your rental, plus the questions you need to ask an applicants’ references to be confident in choosing the best applicant

Questions for their Previous Landlord

  1. What can you tell me about the tenant’s character?

  2. Did the tenant pay on time or in the right amount?

  3. Did the tenant abide by the rules of the lease and any move-out rules?

  4. Did the tenant take care of the home?

  5. Were there any complaints made against the tenant?

  6. How much work did you have to do to get it ready for the next tenant?

  7. Do you have any red flags about this tenant worth noting?

  8. Would you lease to the tenant again?

Questions for their Current or Past Employer

  1. When was the tenant hired?

  2. What are the tenant’s roles in his/her job?

  3. What are the terms of the tenant’s employment?

  4. How is the tenant’s performance?

  5. Can you provide some specific examples of why you like working with the tenant?

  6. Has the tenant ever had issues at work or been reprimanded?

Questions for their Personal References

  1. How do you know the tenant?

  2. How long have you known the tenant?

  3. How do you describe the tenant’s current or previous home or apartment?

  4. Does the tenant have pets or smoke?

  5. If you were a landlord, would you rent to this person?

The key to these questions is that they help you learn more about who the tenant is as a person, employee, and renter. A strong reference can help with your rental process, while a negative one can help to quickly decide that you should pass on this applicant. Landlords who take the time to conduct thorough background and reference checks can easily figure out if a tenant is the right choice for them. Verifying that history is a small investment that can give you a large return.

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