How to screen your potential tenants

This article will guide you through the challenging process of getting to know your tenants, deciding whether they’re the right match for you, and it will give you more insight on the questions every landlord should ask their tenants before they move in!


4 minute read
Updated on 31 May 2023

Screening your potential tenants before they move into your property can be crucial for the success of their stay and your own peace of mind and security. But how can you evaluate your future tenants without first meeting them? On HousingAnywhere, we have a few tools that will help.

After reading this guide you'll know how to make the most of these tools and what questions you can ask your potential tenants before they move in.

What type of advertiser are you?

Depending on what type of advertiser you are, you might require to screen your tenants more or less thoroughly. There’s no universal screening that applies to everyone.

For instance, are you managing many properties and don’t have the time to get to know your tenants that well? Then it might be enough for you to verify their identity, employment status, age or gender.

Are you going to share your apartment with your future tenants? Then it might be a good idea to ask them more personal questions to get a feeling of what they’re like. Think of an ideal roommate, their lifestyle and habits. Try to come up with questions that would help you find a close match.

And, at the end of the day, whether you’re an experienced property manager or are looking for someone to sublet your room to, you're probably looking for a trustworthy, reliable tenant who:

  • will always pay the rent on time, and
  • won’t wreck your accommodation.

Screen tenants without in-person viewings

In-person viewings can be time-consuming. So you can save a lot of time by managing your listings directly from your smartphone or tablet.

Also, tenants who book online and in advance are generally more reliable, serious, and committed. They are willing to pay the first month’s rent online to confirm a booking.

Set your tenant-preferences

When creating your listing, you can choose from multiple options. In the Preferred tenant section, you can select the preferred gender of your tenants, their minimum or maximum age, if couples are allowed, and whether you’d rather rent out to students or working professionals. Remember, it's your property, so don’t be afraid to be honest about your preferences.

Specify house rules

Are tenants allowed to smoke inside your property or outside? Are pets allowed? Are they free to play musical instruments, or is it negotiable? After selecting the suitable options in the Rules section, your preferences will be visible to all of our users under your listing’s description.

Request documents

Would you like to see a bank statement or passport to confirm your tenant's identity? You can just check the boxes with the documents you want your potential tenants to submit.

You can also ask the potential tenant to send you these documents later on.

Add more details to the listing’s description

If you have any other preferences or requirements, you can specify them in the listing’s description.

Pictures, descriptions, videos, and floor plans of your properties should be appealing and accurate. That will make your listing look trustworthy. And trust is essential when people book a home online.

Having detailed listing descriptions also reduces enquiries from people who aren’t the right match for you.

Check their user profile

We ask our users to upload recent profile pictures for extra validity. You can check out their profile photo, age, gender, university or occupation, and languages they speak on our users' profiles. It will make your communication much smoother.

We also display user badges on the profiles of the candidates from our partner universities. The “Verified Student” badge indicates that these users are trustworthy and verified by their university.

Tenants also have a dedicated space on their profiles to tell you more about their hobbies, favourite activities, or anything else they’d like to share.

Start a conversation

Suppose you’re not satisfied with the information they have provided in their description (no mention of their employment, profile photo left blank, etc.). In that case, you’re more than welcome to ask more specific questions before you finalise the booking.

You can use our direct messaging system to get to know your potential tenants as well as possible. Ask all the questions you might have and get all the information you need before sending an invitation to book or accepting their booking request.

You can also safely exchange documents on our messaging system even before accepting the booking request. So if you didn't request a photo of their ID or proof of income earlier, this is your moment! Similarly, you can send documents such as the rental contact by clicking on Upload File.

Questions to ask your potential tenants

Answering many questions can be intense for both you and your future tenant. However, before you rent out your property, you should ensure that you have all the information you need, including financial, employment, and personal information.

Here are some questions you could ask:

  • What is your monthly income?
  • Where are you going to work/study?
  • Do you play any musical instruments?
  • Have you lived away from home before?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Are you a smoker?
  • Will you be able to pay the monthly rent, the deposit, and the platform’s fee?
  • Does your income cover the rent plus everyday living expenses?
  • Are you willing to sign an X-month lease agreement?
  • Do you have any friends or relatives who will frequently spend the night in your room/apartment?
  • Is there anything else I should know about you or your lifestyle?

As you get to know your future tenants, pay attention to their manners: are they polite and friendly? Or are they too rude for your taste? You might think this is irrelevant, but first impressions matter.

Try to be patient and understanding when talking to them. Remember that they might be very young, and this might be their first experience away from home. Plus, the nicer and fairer you are to them, the better your chances of attracting polite, well-behaved, trustworthy tenants who won’t tear your place down.

Once you’ve screened your potential tenants’ profiles and have had a conversation with them, there’s only one thing to do: trust your instincts.

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