Why You Should Always Interview Prospective Tenants

Finding the right people to rent your property is always a bit of a challenge. It’s important to make sure you find people responsible enough to make payments on time–as well as people who won’t trash your house. Interviews are one of the best ways to screen potential tenants. 

Get to Know Them

On a basic level, it’s always good to get to know the applicant as an individual. This can be quite hard to do from an application only, where facts and phrases on a piece of paper can melt together very easily in your mind. 

An interview means you can make a human connection. Being able to look someone in the eye and ask them questions works wonders. It also means that you open yourself up to making a decision based on internalized prejudices about the way people look, act, or speak, so make sure to only focus on their relevant attributes.

Watch Out for Red Flags

Interviews are a great way to field red flags. It’s important to do your research before the interview, so you know what to expect. Checking the tenant’s credit score is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to look into their past renting history. If tenants have a previous eviction, that could be a red flag to pay attention to. 

If their credit score is low, that might be because of an inability to make payments on time. The interview is a good opportunity to ask them about whatever incidents or red flags interest you. Open communication can allow people the opportunity to give reasons as to why something happened in their financial past.

Establish Professional Relationship

As a landlord, it’s a good idea to have some kind of basic relationship with your tenant. It doesn’t need to be overly friendly or familiar. As a matter of fact, most tenants probably wouldn’t want that. You should respect the tenant’s privacy. However, you should know them well enough to be comfortable sending them messages when you need to. They, in turn, should feel equally comfortable asking you questions or putting in maintenance requests. A face-to-face interview is the first step in establishing this relationship. Even a digital interview would be better than nothing. 

Finding the right tenant can be hard. There might be some moments when you don’t really have the financial flexibility to be picky. No matter what you end up doing, always make sure you do the bare minimum of research into their rent history, and make sure to do an interview.

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