how to vet tenants with pre-screening questions

How to Vet Tenants with Pre-Viewing Questions

We have put together a list of pre-viewing questions you can ask prospective tenants to make sure they’re a good match for your property.

Finding reliable and responsible tenants is one of the most important steps in the process of renting out your property.

That’s why using pre-viewing questions is a savvy way to attract the right tenants – they can provide valuable insights into their background, lifestyle, and, ultimately, how well they fit with your property.

To make your renting experience hassle-free, OpenRent lets you set up pre-screening questions to make sure you find the perfect match for your property.

  1. Vetting tenants with OpenRent
  2. What questions should I ask a prospective tenant?

OpenRent landlords find great tenants in four days or less. Why not give it a go?

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Vetting tenants with OpenRent

To streamline the process of finding your ideal tenant, we’ve introduced a cutting-edge pre-screening feature that allows landlords to send potential tenants a set of questions before arranging a viewing.

When applicants express interest, they’re prompted to answer a series of questions tailored to the specific criteria you’ve set in your listing, such as whether they have pets or are DSS tenants.

Rest assured, we ensure they meet your requirements before granting them the ability to request a property viewing.

This efficient process ensures that only high-quality enquiries are considered, saving both you and the potential tenant valuable time.

Of course, you can later get an in-depth overview of prospective tenants and their guarantors, through our reliable tenant referencing checks.

What questions should I ask a prospective tenant?

We reached out to successful OpenRent landlords to find out the questions they usually ask potential tenants before moving forward with their application.

Here are some of the top queries favoured by our landlords:

  • What’s your preferred move-in date?
  • How many people are planning to live in the property?
  • What is your relationship with any other potential tenants?
  • The rent is £xxx. How do you plan to cover it? (e.g., regular job income, freelance work, savings, benefits, assistance from someone else, etc.)
  • What is your annual income?
  • Can you provide a guarantor if needed?
  • Can you offer references from your previous landlord and/or employer if requested?

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Confirm the details in your advert

Encourage tenants to double-check any information highlighted in your advert. For example, if your ad specifies ‘no pets,’ make sure to include a direct question like, ‘Do you have any pets?’

This tactic helps you avoid wasting time dealing with tenants who might have missed important details in your advertisement. OpenRent automatically does this through Default Screening when enabled.

You can easily apply the same approach by asking the following questions:

  • The property is un/furnished. Is this suitable?
  • Are you a smoker?
  • Do you currently have any pets?
  • Are you a student?
  • Do you require parking? 
  • Do you require a garden?
  • The minimum tenancy length will be # months. Is this suitable?

Remember: You’re not a referencing company!

These questions can’t replace the thorough checks done by a professional referencing company. Pre-screening is simply to ensure that everyone at the viewing has a fair chance of securing the property.

It’s relatively easy for dishonest tenants to provide false information or documentation to landlords, but considerably more challenging to do the same with a professional referencing service.

So, it’s best to leave questions such as the ones outlined below to the professionals:

  • Do you have any CCJs?
  • What is your credit score?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Have you ever faced issues with rent arrears?
  • Do you earn more than three times the rent?
  • Do you have any unspent convictions?

For only £20, OpenRent gives you the option to choose either a speedy or comprehensive reference check for potential tenants and their guarantors.

This service provides you with an analysis of their financial standing, credit score, and risk assessment, allowing you to make well-informed renting decisions with ease.

Feel in control of your tenancies with our all-inclusive tenancy creation and management tool.

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When using this feature, landlords should prioritise maintaining a respectful and fair approach. It’s very important to use the pre-screening tool responsibly and with consideration, fostering a sense of professionalism and understanding.

Treating prospective tenants with respect and dignity can create a positive and welcoming atmosphere that encourages trust and cooperation from the outset of the renting journey.

Notable Replies

  1. I always advertise that an applcant must be in work. No matter how many questions you ask you will always get the chancers who when you ask where do you work ? they dont reply, so no viewing for them! On 4 properties with about 120 enquiries about 75% had ignored the fact I only want people in work

  2. Avatar for Tina1 Tina1 says:

    Hi Colin. Last advert we placed was the first time that we used Open Rent’s auto screening. We only got a third of the number of enquiries compared with previous times but the quality was so much better. The questions they ask put off most of the time wasters. They also ask how much the tenants’ nett monthly income is and we further reduced the number of wasted viewings because we ruled out tenant’s with income under 3 times the rent. The screening is free and I recommend it 100%

  3. I think it’s more important now to ask their financial circumstances now we cannot charge them for their credit referencing. I always state in the ad that they cannot have any adverse credit history. And I always ask if they have any CCJs etc. and state that if they do they won’t pass the credit check and no point applying. I don’t want to have to keep paying for unnecessary checks!! It’s amazing how some still ask questions like “I know it says no pets but…” or “I know it says no bad credit but would you still consider even though …” or “I know it says no house share but it’s only me and my five mates …” As per Colins comment we also state that applicants must be on 3x the annual rent and that really filters them out too. One tenant applied for one of ours stating that she earned £820 a month for a rental of £750 per month - clearly either wouldn’t be on her own or was in receipt of benefits! Do they really think landlords are that daft??

  4. Avatar for Tj1 Tj1 says:

    We have been using the tenancy screening function for sometime now (with our own questions, something similar). If they do not reply, we assume that they are time wasters! There are lot of time wasters (including Agents! when we say in our advert, no agent, they still send messages, just can not get rid of them!).

  5. It stated “no pets” in my advert, the contract states “no pets” without consultation with me, yet the first thing that confronted me when I had to go in after a week, was a litter tray. When I queried it and the cat sitting there, it was laughingly brushed off by the tenant! What can I do rather than evict them?

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This article is not intended to form legal or investment advice. Investments in property are not guaranteed and can decrease in value as well as increase.

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