How to Vet Tenants with Pre-Viewing Questions

Landlords want high-quality tenants at their viewings. That means tenants who have read the property description and understand the kind of tenancy that the landlord is looking for. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than driving to a viewing just for the tenant to have misread the move-in date or the maximum number of occupants! Clearly, vetting tenants before you conduct viewings and referencing makes good sense. 

Tenant Vetting with OpenRent

To make vetting easier, we built a pre-screening feature that lets landlord send tenants a list of questions before they book a viewing. This allows you to make sure the tenants enquiring are appropriate for your property, saving you wasted viewings or referencing costs. 

The Best Questions to Ensure High-Quality Tenants

We asked successful OpenRent landlords what questions they ask tenants before progressing with their enquiry. Here are the most popular questions asked by real OpenRent landlords.

  • When are you looking to move in?
  • How many people will move into the property?
  • What is your relation to any co-tenants?
  • The rent is £xxx. How will you pay the rent? (i.e. employed income, self-employed income, savings, benefits, someone else will pay, etc.)
  • What is your annual income?
  • Can you provide a guarantor if required?
  • Can you provide past landlord and employer references if required?

Confirm the details in the advert

Ask tenants to confirm any the details specified your advert. For example, if your ad said “no pets” then the form should ask “Do you have any pets?”  

Doing this will ensure you do not waste time speaking to tenants who did not read your advert properly. OpenRent does this for you automatically if you turn on Default Screening. You can do this yourself by asking:

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

Learning a Little More

If you want a direct relationship with your tenants, such as if you are letting a property you plan to live in in the future, you may wish to find out a bit more about any potential tenants. 

  • What is your reason for moving from your current accommodation?
  • Are you familiar with the area? 

Remember! You Are Not a Referencing Company

These questions are no substitute for a professional referencing company. Pre-screening is just to make sure that everyone who comes to a viewing has a real chance of letting the property, so there’s no need to ask for bank statements or employer contact details. 

It is trivially easy to lie or provide false documentation to a landlord, but much harder to do so to a professional referencing company. This means there is no point in you, the landlord, asking: 

  • Do you have any CCJs?
  • What is your credit score?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Have you ever been pursued for rent arrears?
  • Do you earn over three times the rent? 
  • Do you have any unspent convictions?

Only a referencing company will be able to reliably give you the answers to these questions.

Summary: the Benefits of Pre-Screening Tenants

Vetting your tenant enquiries means you will put off time-wasting enquiries without putting off any serious applicants.

You will have to conduct fewer viewings and pay for fewer tenant referencing checks, which can quickly add up in cost. 

Share Your Favourite Tenant Questions in the Comments!

Let us know your tried and trusted questions in the comments. Why do you ask them? What do you get out of them? 

Notable Replies

  1. Colin3 says:

    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. 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. 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!).

  4. I have used the Rent Now function before but never noticed the facility to ask prescreening questions. Where is it to be found please.

Continue the discussion at community.openrent.co.uk

3 more replies

Participants