The right screening questions will help you avoid bad tenants. Read on to discover a landlord's guide to screening questions for tenants here.

A Landlord’s Guide to Screening Questions for Tenants

Bad tenants can quickly sink your rental income. From not paying their rent on time (or at all) to damaging your property, renting to a bad tenant can cost you thousands of dollars. One of the best ways to make sure that you don’t wind up with a bad tenant is to ask s list of rental application questions to learn more about your potential tenant. 

If you are going to be renting a property soon, read on for some of the best screening questions for tenants that you can ask. 

Pre-Screening Questions for Tenants

Before a potential tenant even fills out a rental application, you can have pre-screening questions to ensure that they meet your minimum criteria. If you don’t do this, you might spend a lot of time showing your property to tenants who may not even be eligible to rent it. 

Pre-screening questions or criteria can include: 

  • When would you need to move in? 
  • Are you willing to sign a one-year lease (or whatever timeframe you are looking for)
  • Do you have pets? 
  • What is your income? 
  • How many people would be living with you? 
  • How many vehicles do you have? 
  • Have you ever had an eviction? 
  • Have you filed for bankruptcy recently? 
  • Will you be able to pay a lease application fee if you fill out a rental application? 

These questions can help you weed out those tenants who may not be serious or wouldn’t meet your requirements so you can spend time focusing on serious tenants only. 

Once you go through the pre-screening questions, you can show the property to the eligible prospective tenants and if they are still interested, ask them to fill out a rental application. 

Screening Questions for Tenants

Now that your tenant is pre-screened, has seen the property, and is serious about renting from you, you can go through the full screening process. 

This includes the rental application where you will collect information about their employer, income, and rental history. It’s important to remember that you cannot discriminate against a potential renter based on criteria such as race, age, or religion. Doing this could open you up to a discrimination suit, so be sure you are following the federal Fair Housing Act

  • Some important questions to include are: 
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (a criminal background check will verify this)
  • Who are your previous landlords (get references from them)
  • Have you ever broken a lease? If so, why? 
  • What is your credit score (get a credit report to verify this) 

To make this process easier on yourself, you can use a tenant screening service like to handle the entire screening for you. 

Don’t End up With Bad Tenants 

Use these screening questions for tenants to make sure that you end up with the best possible tenants out there to protect yourself and your property. Our tenant screening checklist will help you get tenants who are qualified, can pay their rent on time and in full, and will take good care of your property. 

If you found this guide useful, be sure to check out some of our other guides to help you become a better landlord. 

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