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What Are Good Questions to Ask Tenant References?

Finding good, high-quality tenants to lease your Germantown rental property can be time-consuming and, at times, frustrating. This is especially true when you follow a thorough tenant screening and have to find questions to ask tenant references. 

Learn good questions to ask tenant references in Germantown, MD.

Even though the tenant screening process can delay renting out your property, it is a necessary part of acquiring tenants. By asking your tenant a few questions and checking up on their background and finances, you can avoid expensive problems during the lease term and may even reduce tenant turnover.

As part of the tenant screening process, you should speak to tenant references. This will help you get to know the potential tenant better and from a different perspective. 

To ensure you truly get to know the tenant and are prepared when speaking with their references, we’ve compiled a list of the most telling questions to ask. 

What Tenant References Should You Request?

When you have found a potential tenant who would like to lease your rental property, you should provide them with a rental application. This application should request information such as their current address, employment, credit history, and more. 

In addition to this information, you should also request references for your tenant. There are three categories of people you should speak to:

  1. Landlords (past and/or current)
  2. Employer (current)
  3. Personal reference

Speaking with these tenant references will provide a well-rounded view of who you might rent your property to. 

Important Questions to Ask Tenant References

Once you have the contact information for your tenant’s references, it’s time to hop on the phone and have a quick conversation. 

Below are some of the most important and telling questions you should ask each tenant’s reference. 

Questions to Ask Past or Current Landlords

Past or current landlords are probably the most important people you will speak with when verifying whether a prospective tenant is high-quality. 

They have direct experience renting to them and can enlighten you about what to expect from the tenant. 

Some questions to ask landlord references include:

  • How long did the tenant rent your property?
  • Did the tenant pay rent on time?
  • What condition did the tenant leave your property in?
  • Did the tenant have pets?
  • Did the tenant have a cosigner or assistance with payments?
  • Did the tenant provide proper notice when moving out or ending the lease?
  • Did you return the security deposit in full?
  • Would you rent to this tenant again?

In just a few minutes, you can determine whether or not the tenant is a good fit for your rental or not. 

Questions to Ask the Tenant’s Employer

As a landlord, you want to make sure that your tenant has a stable income and can afford to pay rent on time each month. This is where the tenant’s employer enters the picture. 

When speaking to your tenant’s employer, consider asking the following questions:

  • Can you confirm that the tenant works at your company?
  • How long has the tenant worked there?
  • What are the terms of their work? Are they hired full-time or contracted?
  • How many hours a week does the tenant work?
  • Is the tenant up for a promotion that requires relocation in the next year?
  • Is the tenant in good standing with the company?

Ensuring your tenant earns enough to pay rent and has a stable job that they excel in can ease your mind and push them towards high-quality tenant status. 

Questions to Ask the Personal Reference

Learn questions to ask a tenant's personal references in Germantown, MD.

While often seen as the least reliable tenant reference, a personal reference can provide more insight into the tenant’s character and habits. This person may be a family member, friend, or colleague. 

When speaking with the tenant’s personal reference, consider asking the following questions:

  • What is your relationship with the tenant?
  • How long have you known the tenant?
  • How would you describe the tenant’s character?
  • Do you know if the tenant smokes?
  • Does the tenant have any pets?
  • How would you describe the tenant’s current home?
  • If you were a landlord, would you rent your property to the tenant?

These answers can help you determine the type of person the tenant is and if they will take care of your property without issues or damage. 

Please note: There are specific laws (federal and local) that dictate what questions you are allowed to ask a prospective tenant and how you are allowed to use the information you acquire. Always consult a qualified lawyer for any clarification. 

The Importance of a Thorough Tenant Screening Process

You have probably heard some horror stories about problematic tenants from other landlords. Maybe they paid rent late every month or left the property damaged beyond what the security deposit could cover. 

These bad tenants could have been avoided with a thorough tenant screening process. 

Digging into a potential tenant’s rental history, credit score, and employment status ensures that you rent your property to a high-quality tenant. The better you know a prospective tenant, the better you can trust them to respect you and your property. 

If you’re considering skipping screening potential tenants to fill a vacancy faster, we strongly advise against that! 

Save yourself the risk of repairing expensive damages, chasing tenants down for rent, or in extreme situations, evictions; take the time to screen prospective tenants.

High-Quality Tenants in 30 Days or Less with Mainstay Property Management

What if there was a way to acquire high-quality tenants who pass an extremely thorough tenant screening process in less than a month – all without you lifting a finger?

When you work with Mainstay Property Management, there is! 

As the leading property management company in Germantown, MD, Mainstay Property Management helps hundreds of rental property owners manage and maintain their rentals. 

Our rigid and deep-diving tenant screening process is designed to hand-select the most reliable and qualified tenants to live in our owners’ properties. If our judgment is off, we’ll handle collecting late rent and even evictions if needed! 

We’ll even call those tenant references for you and ask all the necessary questions. You get to sit back and anticipate our call to tell you that we’ve found someone to rent your property! 

If you found this article helpful, then make sure to read How to Write a Successful Property Listing, next!

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