If you’re a landlord, you’re probably all-too-familiar with some common horror stories: tenants with a grudge wrecking your carefully-maintained property, renters lying about pets or getting into 3am screaming matches outside the building. While these “time-honored traditions” may seem like part and parcel of renting a property, this doesn’t have to be the case. Performing background screening checks on any potential tenants can help you figure out if a person is going to be a reliable and responsible renter, as can asking these 4 questions to any potential tenants before you hand over the keys and get a deposit:

Why are you moving?

Much like in a job interview where an employer asks why a person is leaving their current position, this question can help you suss out a person’s reason for moving. If they spend their time complaining about their awful landlord or tell you all about how they were unfairly evicted, watch out – this could be a sign of troubles down the road.

When do you plan to move?

This question can help you find out two very different pieces of information. If they indicate that they’d like to move “eventually,” they may not be quite ready to take the plunge. They could be exploring their options or simply feeling out a new living situation. Conversely, this question could help you identify people who might not be great at planning – if they want to move in “tomorrow” or “this weekend,” they might not have fully planned out their options. This could be a sign to investigate them further to see if they’re going to be a responsible tenant.

Will you consent to background screening checks?

If you’ve set up a process for screening a tenant, this will be part of your plan anyway. However, asking in advance could help you weed out people who aren’t serious about renting the property or who have red flags in their past. If they turn down a background screening check, it may be time to move on and find another potential tenant.

What is your financial situation?

Knowing how much someone makes and furthermore, if they’re gainfully employed, will give you some insight into whether or not they’ll be able to pay the rent on time. This question can also help uncover any large debts that may keep a person from being able to pay the rent. Ensuring that potential tenants are able to take on the burden of renting your space is critical to a good ongoing relationship.

Finding a tenant doesn’t have to be challenging – finding a good one may be trickier. However, these four questions (along with a background check from a reliable screening service) can help you figure out which candidates may be best for you and your property.

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