What questions should I ask prospective tenants?

When you’re renting out your property and dealing with prospective tenants, you can sometimes forget to ask important questions. There are a few questions you can ask the tenant to aid you in the decision to place someone.

Why are you moving out? This question should help identify whether you may have any future problems. Now, if the prospective tenants were to say to you they were evicted or having conflict with a neighbour, then do further research. It may not actually the case where they are at fault. A tenant evicted from a property because the owner may be selling is not a bad reason to be evicted. Nor is a tenant who moved away from a problem neighbour because it was easier than spending time and energy trying to fix it. But, if you make a call to the previous landlord/agent or speak to other neighbours around the previous address, you should be able to determine the truth.

Do you have pets? Is a question that should help lead into others. If they do, understand what pets they are, maybe even ask if you can meet them and make a decision on whether you think that particular pet would be detrimental to your property. Damage is what you are trying to avoid, so make a judgement call on whether you accept their pet on none at all.

How many people will be living with you? Sometimes you can get more than you bargained for. Everybody who lives at the property permanently, must be on the lease. By getting an understanding of how many people are moving in, can assist in your decision-making process. Especially if the list is never ending.

What is your current employment status? Knowing they have regular income and proven through multiple payslips and a call to the employer, can put your mind at ease. It is important that your tenant has a constant flow of income and preferably has had their job for a long period of time. You will get a better gauge of their performance and likelihood of them keeping their job by speaking to their boss.

Have you ever been evicted? This is a must. Red flags should present if there is any hesitation to answer this question or if it is answered with a long-winded excuse why. Find out when they were evicted and who the managing agents were or landlord. Do your due diligence and find comfort in the reasons. If you cannot not get any details of agents/landlords, I would move onto the next prospective tenant.

Do you have any other debts? Whether it be credit cards, personal loans or cars, it’s worth running the numbers. If someone is living day by day just being able to afford to breath, you should probably suggest they find a cheaper solution. External debts can take preference over rent in many cases and you will be the one to miss out. Try to avoid this situation from the beginning by asking your prospective tenants the hard questions first.



The following advice is of a general nature and intended as an opinion and broad guide. For all legal, financial or real estate advice you should obtain independent professional advice to do with the specific nature of your circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.

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