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.
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.