Questions to Ask a Renter’s Previous Landlords

Questions to ask a renters previous landlord

Photo credit: DaGoaty (Flickr)

When you’re sifting through applicants on your quest to find the ideal tenant, it’s a good idea to do some digging into your renter’s previous tenant history. A great way to find out if your applicant was a good tenant is to ask the person’s previous landlords.

Previous landlords are the best resources for you to use to learn about a tenant’s history. This will help you avoid any tricky renters that are merely trying to jump through your screening hoops.

Here are a few question suggestions for previous landlords to help you learn about your applicant’s tenant history:

Did this tenant pay the rent? If this person is going to live in your property, you better make sure this person is reliable and will pay the rent.

Was the rent on time? Not only should you confirm that the rent was paid, but you should also make sure it was on time. You don’t want to have to fuss with late payments, so a track record of punctual rent is a good sign for you.

Did this tenant take good care of the property? Asking the previous landlord if the property was well maintained will give you a good idea how your property will be treated. If the tenant left his or her last property in shambles, this may not be the right tenant for you.

Was this tenant disruptive? Noisy tenants or tenants that throw a lot of parties could make the neighbors unhappy. Then you’d have to deal with noise complaints from other tenants. You want someone who is going to be considerate of the surrounding neighbors.

Ask the previous landlord if the tenant had a history of causing a ruckus in the apartment or if the tenant was relatively quiet. This will prevent you from having to deal with a noise nuisance in the future.

Does this tenant communicate well? It’s important to know that the tenant is responsive whenever you need to communicate with him or her. Does the tenant neglect to respond to your phone calls or e-mails? Imagine if the tenant failed to pay rent, and you can’t get a hold of him or her through any means.

You need responsive tenants that will keep you in the loop with everything involving your unit and rent payments.

Would you rent to this tenant again? This should be the capstone question. If the answer is anything but “yes”, you should consider looking elsewhere. You want to rent to a tenant that the previous landlord could tolerate for another lease lifespan.