5 Essential Questions to Ask Prior Landlords

Renting to a new tenant can be an exciting — but scary — undertaking, so one of the best ways to ensure that you're renting to someone reputable and trustworthy is by checking with their previous landlords.

Ensure that your potential renters include contact information of at least one prior landlord on their application so you can discuss their history.

Use these tips to decide what questions you should ask of previous landlords.

1. What was their address and how much rent did they pay?
On their rental application, you should always ask an applicant for their rental history.

This should include both the addresses at which they previously rented and how much they paid in rent there.

When a potential tenant gives you the amount of rent they paid at their previous address, you'll also want to make sure that the tenant has given you honest, accurate information.

This can help you determine whether they are honest and trustworthy, as well as if they are a financially viable candidate to live in your rental.

2. Did they pay rent on time?
One of the most important pieces of information you can learn from previous landlords is if the tenant paid their rent regularly and on time.

You want to rent to someone who is financially responsible and who you can depend on to meet his or her rent obligations.

You should only rent to tenants whose previous landlords report that they were dependable and trustworthy with rent.

Consider creating your own guidelines about how many times an applicant can have paid rent late in order to approve them, since paying late once or twice is a different thing than paying late habitually.

If they have paid late, you may also take into account how long they were tenants at that property.

If they are long-term tenants and have paid late once it will weigh differently than a tenant that pays late once in a year-long lease.

3. Were there any complaints about them?
Particularly if you have multiple units in one building, you'll want to ask a prior landlord if any other tenants ever made complaints about the applicants.

These complaints could be for things like noise, cleanliness, pests, rudeness, etc.

You want to ensure that you're renting to someone who will be a good member of the community and not cause unnecessary trouble as a tenant.

If there were complaints filed, ask the landlord for a bit of background, since complaints (particularly rare ones) are not always immediate indicators of a bad tenant (they are the result often a bad relationship between two tenants).

4. Did they take care of your property?
When you rent to a tenant, you entrust your property to their care.

So, one of the most important questions you should ask prior landlords is if the tenants took care of their property.

For example, ask if there was damage done to the apartment or if the landlord had to pay for cleaning the apartment after the tenant left.

You should also ask if the tenant asked for repairs regularly during their tenancy, since regular repairs can mean that tenants were careless with the property.

5. Would you rent to them again?
This is a general questions that can help you determine if the applicant will be a good tenant.

After all, if a previous landlord is willing to trust a tenant, then that tenant will likely be a good one for you, as well.

Renting your space to a person you don't know can be daunting, but with a little legwork and just a few questions, finding a tenant you can trust and depend on can be an easy and rewarding experience!

Posted on Jan 26, 2015


The Landlord Tenant Board: What it is and When it is Needed

Many times, there are issues between a landlord and a tenant that need to be resolved but are failed to do so, because both parties have gone too far with their actions, and have retaliated in the... More

How to Review a Rental Application

When it comes to reviewing a rental application, all of it may seem daunting; you will find it overwhelming because there is so much information that you yourself have to go through before the tenant... More

How to Create a Residential Lease Agreement

Where there is a landlord, there will also be a tenant, and it is no surprise that these two parties can only work together once there is some sort of agreement, contract or a binding deal in place.... More

The Best Sites for Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

Many landlords find it difficult to write and draft a lease agreement. Since every State has its own general template, it can also be difficult to make sure your lease agreement meets all the criteria... More

Landlord Obligations: The Responsibilities of a Landlord

Becoming a landlord is a major deal and no one can simply get up and think, “well, yes I think I should be a landlord and rent out my flat.” If you are thinking that you would like to be a landlord,... More

The Best Landlord Associations for Landlords to Join

If you’re a landlord and want to manage your business in a better way, you should endeavor to get in touch with those industry experts who have the experience and the skills to help you do it. This is... More

The Best Landlord Forums

Landlords and aspiring landlords, do not become as such, without guidance and advice. There is a lot that goes into being a landlord nowadays; in fact, there is so much to learn that it often confuses... More

The Biggest Landlord Problems and How to Fix Them

Renting out an apartment or a house can become a constant revenue source for landlords, but at the same time, it gives rise to several problems. It is a fact that high standards, a strict lease... More

Landlord Tenant Disputes

If you are currently thinking of becoming a landlord only because it helps you have a constant stream of income, you should think twice. It’s not that you should not consider offering your property... More

Prospective Tenants

In case you’re going to establish a new landlord tenant relationship, it is important that you proceed with extreme care. Though it is a good idea to offer your property for rent and make some money,... More