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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #1 

Here's an article that we published recently that landlords might find helpful:

Tips for Interviewing Rental Applicants

Interviewing applicants is a necessary step in the rental process. We have a few tips that'll help you make the most of your interactions.

Meet with Your Tenant

Having the tenant meet you and view the property is an ideal situation. There may be times when you won't get to meet your tenant in person, like in situations where the tenant is moving from out-of-state. Both the landlord and applicant benefit from talking in person. The applicant can ask questions and can see exactly what the property offers. The landlord can get a good feel for an applicant's personality and can ask them questions in person. 

Plus, there are non-verbal cues that you miss by only communicating through email, text, and phone. In person, you may be able to tell if an applicant isn't telling the truth or isn't really interested in the place.

Ask Questions

Just be sure that they are the right questions. The following questions can give you valuable information and alert you to issues that may be revealed in screening:

  • Why are you moving?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • How many occupants will be living at the property?
  • Will you be able to pass a criminal background and credit check?
  • Can you provide the move-in costs upon signing the lease?

There are some questions that you should not ask. You should avoid any questions that could violate the Fair Housing Act, which protects renters against discrimination based on certain categories. The categories protect under the act are race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, and familial status.


If you want to move the applicant forward in the application process, give them the steps to do so. Every landlord does things a little differently, so don't assume that your applicant knows what they should be doing. Communication is key in making the rest of the process smooth and quick. Tell them how to fill out the application and what fees are associated with it. If the application is online, give them the link, even if you think they already have it. Let them know how to complete a credit and background check.

Use these tips to conduct interview like a pro. Because of considerations in relation to Fair Housing, it's a good idea to ask the same questions to all applicants (as long as they in compliance to the law). Have a solid system and you'll avoid complications and streamline your application process.


Sarnen Steinbarth
Founder / CEO

100% Free Landlord Software | Rental Marketing | Online Applications | Tenant Screening | Rent Collection


Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #2 
This interview looks something like a job interview. It is necessary to get a clear view of the tenant you are going to lend your house.

Posts: 52
Reply with quote  #3 
Screening is the key to success in owning rentals A bad tenant can be an expensive  nightmare.I advertise on Craigs List. When people call  I  explain that before showing I like to ask a few questions to see if they qualify . I explain that this saves us both time . I get as much info as possible: Income ,credit score ,pets,smokers,occupants etc..If the unit is vacant I ask if they have given  written  notice  .If they haven't given notice ,they usually expect me to waive a months rent: No can do! My firm policy is that the rent starts when the unit is taken off the market

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 
Pre-Screen before an interview or showing! This can be questions about their credit score, income, bankruptcies, information about pets etc. Weed out all of the unqualified applicants before going through this process of showing your unit. 

Once they pass a screening, schedule a showing! During this time, get to know your applicant, engage in small talk, and the best pre-screening tip: Walk them to their car, inspect how clean they keep it. This is a great indication of how they will treat your property. 

Make sure you are following all fair housing laws when interviewing applicants. Make sure to understand what you can/cannot ask by reading up on that first.

For online applications and free screening, have your tenants apply on TurboTenant.


Jenifer Kynor


Posts: 232
Reply with quote  #5 
If possible, one must also get in touch with previous landlords to find out more about the tenants.
Hunter Rentals & Property Management


Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #6 
I don't do interviews.  If something is wrong, they are going to lie about it.  Chances are very slim that you can catch them lying simply by talking to them.  Questions about pets and occupants are on the application.  I catch more people lying by talking to their landlords, checking their social media pages, and other checks than by talking to them.

I do the entire screening in reverse.  Interested parties complete the application first and submit proof of income.  We do a criminal background check and calculate the amount of rent they are qualified for based on 3 x the rent in income.  If they pass these, then we will call and talk to the applicant and schedule a showing.  No background check - no showing.  Safety is number 1.  They don't meet the criteria for clean background or income guidelines, they aren't qualified to view the property.

If they like the property, they can then pay the application fee and I complete the screening - checking with employers, current and former landlords, and all the other items in the screening process.  Look for my previous posts on screening applicants.  Thorough screening is the most important thing you can do to find a good tenant.

Posts: 232
Reply with quote  #7 
That's also a good way, OHlandlord. 
Hunter Rentals & Property Management


Posts: 63
Reply with quote  #8 
I do a lot of pre-screen before I even respond to an inquiry!

If the email looks like it was made up yesterday - no social media trail.  Or phone number doesn't match to the name (OK this one not as accurate.  Or I can't even find anything online to the person's name, I don't even bother to email them back!

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