Questions To Ask On Your Rental Application

By Ashley Paskill on October 4, 2021

As a property manager, one of the biggest challenges you are tasked with is finding great tenants to fill vacancies. You are responsible for finding someone responsible and trustworthy to rent your property so that you do not have to worry as much about chasing them down for rent or destroying the property. This is a difficult challenge, especially since you do not get much time to get to know a person before they move in. However, asking the right questions on the rental application can help ensure that you find tenants who are a great fit for your property.

How long have you lived where you live now?

This question has the potential to show how loyal a tenant is and that they were not evicted from a former rental property. If you are looking for someone who will remain in your space for a number of years but their history shows they move often, you will be able to see if you can find a match that is more suited for your wants and needs. However, if you are aware that your properties cater to students who may choose to lease for a year at a time and move frequently, moving frequently may not be a sign of irresponsibility.

Why are you deciding to move?

Going off the previous question, finding out why someone is moving can be telling of their situation and what kind of person they are. They may be moving because they are a student who rents year to year and moves each year. They may also have been evicted for not paying rent or for destroying the previous property. While it is possible for the potential tenant to lie, you will be able to follow up with previous property managers and landlords to see how they were.

Image: Eric Rothermel via https://unsplash.com/photos/FoKO4DpXamQ

How many people will be living with you?

Knowing how many people will be moving in can help you make assessments as to how many bedrooms are needed and the amount of space required to house those moving in. Not only will this help with planning, but it will also help with prevent safety and even legal issues down the line. It is not realistic for five people to move into a one-bedroom apartment, for example. There may also be legal limits to how many people can live in a particular space, so this question will help make sure you and the potential tenants are following the law.

Do you or your roommates smoke?

Many apartment complexes and rental properties have rules about where tenants can smoke. For example, tenants may have to be a certain distance from the building and are not allowed to smoke inside. You may not get an honest answer to this question right away, but you might be able to pick up on this through the screening process. Smoke can cause a lot of damage to your property, which would cause a lot of cleanup work later on. The screening process would be a great way to state your policy, and putting the question on the application will help get some insight.

Will you or your roommates require parking?

Parking spots are a crucial aspect of many rental properties, but especially apartment complexes. Be sure to find out how many parking spaces they will need, and if you have garages, see if they would like access to one. If your parking spots cost extra, be sure to let them know on the application so they can make necessary accommodations if the cost is too high. See what kind of vehicle they plan on bringing, as electric cars require different kinds of parking spots and vehicles like mopeds and motorcycles do not take up a whole spot. Some apartment complexes have specific places for motorcycles and mopeds, so if yours does, keep this in mind.

Are you willing to undergo a background and/or credit check?

Most apartment complexes have potential tenants’ backgrounds and credit checked for potential issues. Credit checks affect someone’s credit, so it is important that you ask permission first. If the person is not willing to submit one or both of these checks, it is best to part ways with this potential tenant as these checks tell you a lot about who they are as a tenant. You will also want to let the applicants know what the policies are involving the checks, including a minimum credit score and a zero-tolerance policy so that the applicant can back out of the process if they know they will not meet the criteria. Part of these questions should also see if the applicant has ever declared bankruptcy or been convicted of a crime. These are typically dealbreakers for property managers when seeing who to rent to.

Asking the right questions on the rental application can help save you from headaches down the line, from potential property damage to even legal issues. These questions also paint a picture of who you are renting to and can help weed out those who will not be great matches.

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