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 vetting 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. 

Let OpenRent vet your tenants for you, so you only receive high-quality enquiries from great tenants.

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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? 

Let OpenRent vet your tenants for you, so you only receive high-quality enquiries from great tenants.

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Notable Replies

  1. 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%

  2. 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??

  3. 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?

  4. I bit my tongue and said nothing when I discovered a cat in situ 4 years ago. We have been very lucky as it has actually turned out to be a lovely cat which is well-behaved and clean - in fact you would not know it lived there aparrt from the food and water bowl.

    IF they are good tenants who pay the rent on time, look a good long term tenant and the cat is not destroying the property, is it worth the hassle of getting them out and having a month or two with no rent coming in?

    I do sympathise because it is very galling but sometimes it is better to be pragmatic and keep the cash coming in…

    Mind you, having said that, I would religiously inspect every 3-4 months to ensure that they are not also doing other things which you said “No” too as well because once they have breached a term or condition, it just goes on getting easier to ignore the Contract xxx

  5. This is great - a very nice feature - thank you!

    I also ask if the prospect has any previous history of bad credit. I had 2 applicants for a property, the first one vanished when I asked them this question - presumably they had some issues.

    The second applicant told me not to bother credit checking them as they admitted they had a history of bad credit and couldn’t provide proof of income.

    For the sake of asking a single question, I eliminated what were probably two potentially problematic tenants.

Continue the discussion at community.openrent.co.uk

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