Interviewing potential tenants

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 18, 2009 1:07 AM GMT
    What would be your list of questions to screen prospective tenants?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 18, 2009 1:25 AM GMT
    Why are you leaving your current apartment?
    Why are you interested in renting this one from me?
    Are you planning on staying long term?
    Do you smoke?
    What's your biggest pet peeve about renting or living in apartments?
    What type of neighbors do you like/dislike?
    Do you associate with anyone that has a criminal record?
  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Sep 18, 2009 6:28 AM GMT
    Do you have a criminal record? And then do a background check to be sure.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 18, 2009 7:15 AM GMT
    Do you own property?

    If I were going to rent my apartment out, I'd definately be on the lookout for people who own something themselves, with the thinking that they'd look after my place the way they would want theirs to be looked after.
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    Sep 18, 2009 7:25 AM GMT
    xrichx saidWhy are you leaving your current apartment?
    Why are you interested in renting this one from me?
    Are you planning on staying long term?
    Do you smoke?
    What's your biggest pet peeve about renting or living in apartments?
    What type of neighbors do you like/dislike?
    Do you associate with anyone that has a criminal record?


    I see two possible three illegal questions in this list.
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    Sep 18, 2009 7:44 AM GMT
    Do you smoke?
    Do you have a stable income job?
    Are you gay, bi, straight or gay-friendly?
    You don't throw loud orgy parties when I'm away, do you?
    Why are you leaving your current living situation?
    Are you clean, obsessive-compulsive?
    Are you looking to stay long-term?
    Where are you from?
    What do you do for a living?
    What are your pet peeves in a roommate situation?
    Tell me about yourself or anything else relevant for that matter.

    Hope it goes well. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 18, 2009 8:52 AM GMT
    In addition to a background check and asking for references, I think it's best to ask open ended questions that require them to do some explaining. That way, it becomes more conversational and you can determine if you get along together.


    Examples:
    1. Tell me about yourself
    2. Tell me about your previous roomate situation, if any.
    3. Tell me about a time when a roomate situation wasn't working for you and how you handled it.
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    Sep 18, 2009 8:55 AM GMT
    _Marco_ said
    xrichx saidWhy are you leaving your current apartment?
    Why are you interested in renting this one from me?
    Are you planning on staying long term?
    Do you smoke?
    What's your biggest pet peeve about renting or living in apartments?
    What type of neighbors do you like/dislike?
    Do you associate with anyone that has a criminal record?


    I see two possible three illegal questions in this list.

    Yeah, possibly. But he's in Canada. I don't know how strict their housing regulations are. I'm sure the iffy questions could be re-worded to comply with his local laws.
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    Sep 18, 2009 9:59 AM GMT
    SexySwimmer said
    Are you gay, bi, straight ...?


    It's against the law to ask that question in most U.S. states (excluding southern states, of course), and I'd assume it's less relevant a question to ask in Canada.
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    Sep 18, 2009 8:41 PM GMT
    xrichx said
    _Marco_ said
    xrichx saidWhy are you leaving your current apartment?
    Why are you interested in renting this one from me?
    Are you planning on staying long term?
    Do you smoke?
    What's your biggest pet peeve about renting or living in apartments?
    What type of neighbors do you like/dislike?
    Do you associate with anyone that has a criminal record?


    I see two possible three illegal questions in this list.

    Yeah, possibly. But he's in Canada. I don't know how strict their housing regulations are. I'm sure the iffy questions could be re-worded to comply with his local laws.


    Yeah your right. It is just a matter of how you word the question.
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    Sep 18, 2009 8:43 PM GMT
    Tapper said
    SexySwimmer said
    Are you gay, bi, straight ...?


    It's against the law to ask that question in most U.S. states (excluding southern states, of course), and I'd assume it's less relevant a question to ask in Canada.


    Maybe so, but it depends on how you ask/come off with the question, too - don't get me wrong, the purpose of this question is to see if the potential roommate is a potential homophobe prick, if he/she doesn't like gay people; what is the point of living together then? It's best to be honest upfront in the beginning or state in your ad that you're seeking a gay/gay-friendly person. I lived with a straight/homophobe before, I know.
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    Sep 18, 2009 8:53 PM GMT
    Oops.. Is he looking for a roommate? I thought he was a landlord looking to rent out his property.
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    Sep 18, 2009 8:54 PM GMT
    SexySwimmer said
    Tapper said
    SexySwimmer said
    Are you gay, bi, straight ...?


    It's against the law to ask that question in most U.S. states (excluding southern states, of course), and I'd assume it's less relevant a question to ask in Canada.


    Maybe so, but the purpose of the question is to see if the potential roommate is a potential homophobe prick, if he/she doesn't like gay people; what is the point of living together then? It's best to be honest upfront in the beginning or state in your ad that you're seeking a gay/gay-friendly person.


    In Massachusetts and New Hampshire you can't ask a potential tenant about their sexual orientation. But you can disclose to them your orientation and ask them if they have problem with that.

    When screening tenants, I usually get a credit report, verify their employment and ask for a reference from their previous landlord. (Here in the US credit reports list the past several known addresses. So, if the address the tenant provides the reference for doesn't match what's on the report, it's worth following up. I met one would be tenant whose sister provided him with a reference. When I contacted the owner of the place he had actually been renting, I found out he was a deadbeat.

    There's no foolproof formula for getting good tenants. So try to protect your interests with a rental contract or lease that sets out clearly your expectations and the consequences of those expectations not being met. My preference is to draft the agreement myself and then pay my lawyer to give it a once over and make any necessary changes.

    Best of luck.
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    Sep 18, 2009 9:09 PM GMT
    flieslikeabeagle said
    SexySwimmer said
    Tapper said
    SexySwimmer said
    Are you gay, bi, straight ...?


    It's against the law to ask that question in most U.S. states (excluding southern states, of course), and I'd assume it's less relevant a question to ask in Canada.


    Maybe so, but the purpose of the question is to see if the potential roommate is a potential homophobe prick, if he/she doesn't like gay people; what is the point of living together then? It's best to be honest upfront in the beginning or state in your ad that you're seeking a gay/gay-friendly person.


    In Massachusetts and New Hampshire you can't ask a potential tenant about their sexual orientation. But you can disclose to them your orientation and ask them if they have problem with that.

    When screening tenants, I usually get a credit report, verify their employment and ask for a reference from their previous landlord. (Here in the US credit reports list the past several known addresses. So, if the address the tenant provides the reference for doesn't match what's on the report, it's worth following up. I met one would be tenant whose sister provided him with a reference. When I contacted the owner of the place he had actually been renting, I found out he was a deadbeat.

    There's no foolproof formula for getting good tenants. So try to protect your interests with a rental contract or lease that sets out clearly your expectations and the consequences of those expectations not being met. My preference is to draft the agreement myself and then pay my lawyer to give it a once over and make any necessary changes.

    Best of luck.


    Yeah... I usually ask the following:

    Where are you employed?
    How many people will be cohabiting with you?
    Any pets? Size of pets if so (I allow pets under 25lbs. but I charge a $120 non-refundable deposit... which is the cost of having the carpets cleaned)

    I also ask for a list of references and do a background check.
    I fired my property manager three months ago and afterwards found out she had rented out one side of my duplex to a convicted pedophile when there were children living in the other side of the duplex (I had to deal with getting the address updated on the sex offender registry too). She also rented out one of my units in a four-plex to a drug dealer that didn't pay rent for three months.
    Now I have to evict another one of my tenants the old property manager leased to, because she had another one of my tenants threatened over a missing DVD player. This will be the fourth eviction in the past few months. Such a headache.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 18, 2009 10:10 PM GMT
    Questions I tend to ask when renting out a spare room in my house:
    Do you smoke?
    How long of a contract are you looking for?
    How clean are you?
    How loud are you?
    Are you allergic to cats?

    I tell them explicitly that they are not allowed to bring any illegal substances into my house, and that if they have an overnight guest more than twice a week we'll need to renegotiate the split of the utilities as we would if I had one over that often. I also tell them that I'm gay, and that if that poses a problem for them, they should look elsewhere for a room.

    You might be surprised at what's legal and what's not. I'm not a legal expert, but I looked into this in the past, so with a grain of salt:

    In the US, if you are renting out 4 or fewer units and own one of them, you're allowed to discriminate however the heck you want when picking a renter. You are not allowed, on the other hand, to say anything in advertising a place that might give the appearance of favoring or disfavoring individuals based on age, familial status, ethnic origin, or religion. I wouldn't be allowed to mention that I'm less than 2 blocks away from a Temple, for example, because it might give the appearance that I would prefer a Jewish tenant. Nor could I mention whether or not I've heard Spanish spoken on the block, nor say that whether it's a good location for children or students or whatnot. I'm allowed to actually make my decision on that because I'm renting out just a room in my house, but I'm not allowed to advertise anything that would make it seem like I was taking such things into consideration. Weird.

    You ARE allowed to explicitly favor based on sex even in advertisement if there is a shared kitchen or bathroom. The bathroom I understand; the kitchen is a bit of a surprise.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Sep 20, 2009 12:19 AM GMT
    You should check with your local city agency that oversees rentals. They probably have a list of questions you can and can not ask prospective tenants.
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    Sep 20, 2009 12:21 AM GMT
    xrichx saidOops.. Is he looking for a roommate? I thought he was a landlord looking to rent out his property.


    I thought he was looking to rent out property too
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2009 1:55 AM GMT
    Yes, looking to rent out property, good suggestions. I have a tough time screening people.