Rental properties are a great investment, so don't let bad tenants ruin them. If you're a new landlord, here are the tenant screening questions you should ask.

For Newbie Landlords: 5 Tenant Screening Questions You Need to Ask

Renters currently make up 34 percent of the U.S. population, and the number of renters in the U.S. is expected to continue growing. This means that now is the perfect time to become a landlord and earn passive income through renting one (or more) of your properties.

If you’re going to be a landlord, you need to know how to vet potential tenants. Read on to learn about some of the most important tenant screening questions to ask to ensure you’re renting properties to the right people.

Why Ask Pre-Screening Questions for Tenants?

Asking tenant screening questions helps you to narrow down your options and avoid renting out your property to someone who might be a liability. If you want to avoid issues like late rent payments, property damage, and potential evictions, asking the right questions during the screening interview can make a big difference.

5 Essential Tenant Screening Questions

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for commercial tenant screening questions or residential tenant screening questions. Either way, these are some of the best ones to ask:

1. When Do You Want to Move In?

Asking this questions helps you to eliminate candidates who can’t move in by the time you want your property’s vacancy filled (which could cause you to lose money). It also helps you eliminate those who want to move in before the property will be ready.

2. Do You Have Any Pets?

Don’t want pets living on your property? You need to ask this question. It helps you to ensure no one will bring animals with them and makes it easy for you to eliminate pet-owning candidates.

3. How Long Have You Lived in Your Current Home?

This helps you gauge a person’s stability and reliability. If they seem to be switching homes every few months, that can be a red flag. Don’t forget to check their eviction record, too, to see if they’ve been forcibly removed from homes for not paying their rent.

4. Do You Smoke?

If you don’t want smokers living on your property, ask candidates directly if they smoke. If they say they don’t, pay attention to potential signs that they’re lying. Do they smell like smoke, for example, or can you see a pack of cigarettes in their pocket?

5. Can You Share Your Monthly Income?

Ask any professional who provides tenant screening services, such as the experts at, and they’ll tell you to ask this question.

Ideally, a tenant will earn about 3 times the monthly rent amount. If this isn’t the case, or if they can’t provide proof of income at all, that’s a red flag.

Ask These Screening Questions for Potential Tenants Today

At first, you might feel a little confused or overwhelmed when figuring out what tenant screening questions to ask. If you keep this list in mind, though, you’ll have an easier time filling vacancies in your properties and renting them out to people you can trust.

Do you want to learn more about tenant screening or managing rental properties? Check out our Home & Real Estate section today.

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