May 28, 2023

Trigger Questions Potential Tenants Ask Landlords

Aside from the formal tenant screening, landlords have different ways to get a read or feel of a rental applicant. Even just by a casual conversation during the property tour, you can get a sense of whether a person might be a responsible tenant or not. 

There are trigger words or phrases that you should look out for or take heed of from people who want to rent your property. While these “hints” or “triggers” do not always mean that a person is undeserving to become your tenant, you will be better off if you are familiar with them than not. 

Here are questions and statements that you might encounter from rental applicants that can help you decide to let them rent your property. 

“Will You Run a Background Check on Me?”

Background checks often get through the nerves of rental applicants who have something to hide. So, if you hear such questions from a potential tenant, it serves as a warning to you as a landlord. 

A prospective tenant should be open to background checks because it is the right of a landlord to perform them. What if that person has a record of bad behavior that can be detrimental to the business of the rental property owner? What if it is really so bad that it can affect the lives of the landlord, his current tenants, and the whole neighborhood?

The landlord has the right to weigh the pros and cons of letting a person be his tenant. You should set a standard for all rental applicants, and you have to introduce them to your rental criteria, especially when this question is ever asked by them. Work with a lawyer to help set a rental requirement that is legal. 

“Should I Make a Rental Deposit?”

It is a common question that you will encounter from rental applicants. Some will request to spread out a deposit over the whole period of the lease, while others will ask for the same for over a few months. Be wary when you hear this from a prospective tenant because it is typically a sign that he is tight on the budget or has a financial issue of some sort. 

Be sure a rental applicant will be a responsible tenant. He should be able to make timely rent to you and prioritize his rent payments over his other monthly expenses. A rental deposit is a requirement to protect your rental business from tenants that will do otherwise. 

“How Many People Can Stay in the Property?”

Include how many occupants your property can accommodate in your listing. Setting a maximum number of people in the property helps rental applicants understand what is “too many” for you and, hopefully, they will respect this rule. 

Now, avoid hasty judgment on a prospective tenant if he will ask you what is the number of required occupants in the property or how many guests can visit, or how long they can stay in it. Most probably, it is a sincere question, and there is nothing in the person’s mind to violate your house rules. But if that query comes up, you better take heed and show your rental policy. 

“Can I move in Right Away?”

It is something to be wary of when a potential tenant wants to move into your rental home so quickly. There are likely scenarios why this is. Probably, the person was recently evicted. Or, maybe, he moved out of his previous rental home without giving notice to his former landlord. 

Consider also the likelihood that the rental applicant might need immediate housing because his former rental home got devastated by fire or flood. Better ask follow-up questions on the reason why a prospective tenant has to move in immediately. 

“How Many Pets Will You Allow in Your Rental Home?”

Pets are part of the family for some tenants. Nevertheless, you should be clear regarding your rental policy about how many pets or what type they can have on the property. Most rental homes allow a one-pet policy, while others have a rule to have no pets at all. 

If a tenant asks you regarding this matter, make them understand your rental policy. If there is something that they do not agree with, tell them you are only doing what you think is beneficial for your rental investment. 

Final Thoughts

It is pretty common to encounter questions and statements from potential tenants that may help you decide whether to approve their rental application or not. Some of these queries can trigger or give you hints of who they are or what their intentions are. As a landlord, you should know how to assess a rental applicant through conversation. Familiarize yourself with the trigger words or phrases you might hear from your prospective tenants.