What is the most valuable question to ask about tenants?

What is the most valuable question to ask about tenants?All around the world landlords try to get the best tenants they can for their investment properties.  Refining who they select is an art form that you should take very seriously. The way to refine your approach is by looking at your potential tenants history and getting in touch with previous landlords and asking this question:

“Would you rent to them again?”

If the response is a hearty “Oh yes I would have them back in a heartbeat”, you know you are onto a winning tenant. If you get more “ummm, ahhh, yeeees I would, however I might want to have a chat to them first about a couple of things.”

Previous Landlords

So make sure that you get your tenants to list previous Landlords and their contact information on their application form. Make sure you also get their consent to call  the landlord to discuss their renting habits. If the potential tenant does not list this information, I would move on to another applicant

Call the Landlords

You can spend some time to ensure that the landlords are real landlords and not a friend of a friend posing as one. You can do this by going through real estate public records. However, you could just jump into the next step of calling the landlord directly. If you have any ‘inkling’ that they could be ‘acting’ then you could perhaps ask the same question in different ways and see what sort of answers you get.If you are getting different answers, maybe they aren’t who they say they are. So ask the landlord the following questions:

  • Would you rent to them again? Why?
  • Did they pay their rent on time – every time?
  • What sort of damage did they leave and what was their response when you pointed it out?
  • Did they have a lot of maintenance requests or other issues?
  • Were they communicative?

Asking these questions ESPECIALLY the first one, will give you more information than anything else. Previous landlords have first-hand knowledge and if they wouldn’t rent to them again, then neither should you.


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