Property Management Blog

9 Important Questions to Ask Prospective Tenant References

System - Monday, November 8, 2021

A Seal Beach property manager on the phone with tenant references


Screening tenants before they sign a lease to rent your Seal Beach property is one of the most important things you can do as a landlord. Not only does it protect you from rent collection issues and financial loss, but also your property from potential damage.

As part of the tenant screening process, you should ask for references and their contact information. While you can get to know your prospective tenants through their paper application and speaking to them, you’ll get more insight from talking to people who interact with them more.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a list of important questions to ask prospective tenant references so you get the information you need to make a decision.


What References Should Tenants Provide?

The first thing you may be wondering is what references you should ask tenants to provide on their application? Similar to applying for a job, tenants should give you the contact information for professional references.

The two most important people to ask for are previous landlords and their current employer. These references can give you the most insight into the prospective tenant’s behavior and finances.

The third reference is a friend or colleague. While this reference isn’t as professional or reliable, it can help determine the tenant’s personality.


Questions to Ask Previous Landlords

From landlord to landlord, you’ll get the most information about your prospective tenant from this reference. They have the best insight into what kind of renter the person is and if they may cause issues during their lease.


1. Did the Prospective Tenant Pay Rent on Time?

One of the most common issues landlords face is late rent payments. In fact, 90% of landlords who work with property management companies require a rent collection service because they know how difficult it can be.

Most landlords don’t know if a prospective tenant will pay their rent on time, but asking a previous landlord is a huge advantage because they can tell you from experience.

2. Why is the Tenant Moving?

Having some information as to why the tenant is moving can be helpful. Was there a dispute between them and the landlord? Are they looking for a larger or less expensive apartment?

3. Did You Have Issues with the Tenant?

Having issues and disputes between landlords and tenants can be stressful. These situations can be avoided if you know the history of the tenant’s relationships with landlords.


Questions to Ask Employers

You may be wondering why you would ask for a prospective tenant’s employer as a reference. Remember, their income is directly tied to the rent they pay each month to live in your Seal Beach property.

Knowing some background information about their salary and work-life is important when determining whether or not they are fit to live in your rental.

Note to ask property managers the right questions to ensure your property is profitable


4. Is the Prospective Tenant in Good Standing at Work?

This is one of the most important questions to ask an employer of your prospective tenant. If they are in good standing at work, it means they will most likely continue to work there and receive their paycheck each month. This means they should have funds to pay the rent.

If the employer seems timid or nervous with this question, it could indicate that they do not see the person working there for much longer.

5. How Long Has the Prospective Tenant Worked There?

Knowing how long the person has been at their job is also helpful. It can speak to their reliability as a person and if they can commit to things. The longer someone has worked in their position, the better news it is for you as a landlord.

6. Can You Confirm the Salary?

When you screen tenants, you should ask for paycheck stubs to see how much they make each month. This may seem like super personal information, but it’s important for you to ask their landlord to know if they can afford to pay rent and utilities each month based on their salary.

While you cannot ask their employer how much they make, you can ask them to confirm that the paystubs they provided are correct.


Questions for Friends and Colleagues

As we mentioned before, friends and colleagues won’t be incredibly helpful, but they can give insight as to who the prospective tenant is as a person and their habits. Take their answers with a grain of salt as they are most likely biased.

7. Would You Rent Your Property to the Prospective Tenant?

This is a very telling question because it shows if the person would trust the prospective tenant to pay rent on time and respect their property.

8. How Would You Describe the Prospective Tenant?

You don’t have to be best friends with your tenants, but you should get along with them in a friendly and professional manner. If their friends describe them as a partier and super laidback, you may want to think twice about renting to them.

However, if the prospective tenant is described as respectful and ambitious, it could be a better fit.

9. What is the Prospective Tenant’s Lifestyle?

The beauty of people is that we are all different and prefer to live different lifestyles. Some people love to stay home while others are always out and about and rarely home. Knowing what kind of lifestyle your prospective tenant lives can be enlightening.


Attract High-Quality Tenants with CMC Realty & Property Management

To run a successful rental property in Seal Beach, you must have high-quality tenants who respect your property and pay rent on time. CMC Realty & Property Management can help you find these tenants through advanced marketing, property promotion, and thorough tenant screening.

Contact us today to see how we can fill your property with high-quality Seal Beach tenants!