Don’t create any house rules such as maintenance requirements which require special skills or a high degree of physical strength so that some applicants would be disqualified.
8. Have you been evicted?
Once the landlord has explained that answers on the rental application must be truthful in order to avoid a claim of fraud, it is possible that the tenant will answer this question honestly. If the applicant admits to a prior eviction, ask about the circumstances, including how long ago, whether there were multiple evictions, and what the applicant has done to rehabilitate. The fact that the applicant is forthcoming is a good sign. Speak with the previous landlord to get both sides of the story
9. Will you agree to undergo a
tenant background check
Explain the scope of the tenant screening policy. For instance, the landlord will verify income, speak with the references, and then run a tenant
. The applicant undoubtedly will answer yes, but this is more about warning applicants that the information they provide will be scrutinized. Bad tenants may be discouraged from pursuing the application, while the better tenants will be forthcoming about any problems that might come out.
is all about due diligence — flagging potential issues that can be discussed further with the applicant. Not all applicants will have a perfect record, but many still are good tenants. An applicant who flags an issue and shows a willingness to accommodate the landlord could be a great tenant.
10. Can you provide references?
Review the scope of the questions that might be asked of the previous landlord, and then watch for any hesitation — or excuses — about previous landlords. That’s often a sign of a bad rental history.
Be prepared with a list of approved questions before speaking to applicants. Avoid going off script. Casual conversation with a rental applicant can lead to a claim of discrimination, so avoid probing questions like “Are you married?” or “Where are you from?” that solicit irrelevant information.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.