Screening questions landlords employers and friends

Never underestimate the importance of the screening process when approving a tenant for your vacant rental property.

Being thorough with a prospective tenant’s references is a crucial step of the decision-making process. Bonus: It’s going to save you a few headaches along the way.

Have you advertised your property for rent on If you’ve shortlisted tenants, be prepared to call former landlords and employers.

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Here are eight useful reference questions to consider asking:

Screening questions for a tenant’s current/past landlord

  1. Who are/were the occupants listed on the lease?
  2. How long was their tenancy?
  3. Did the tenant consistently pay the rent on time?
  4. Did the tenant maintain the property well? Were there any major damages or maintenance issues?
  5. Did the tenant have any pets?
  6. Did you receive any complaints from other tenants or neighbours?
  7. Why does the tenant want to leave?
  8. Would you rent to this tenant again? Why/why not?

Screening questions for a tenant’s employer

  1. Can you confirm this person is/was employed at your company?
  2. Do they come to work on time?
  3. How do you enjoy working with the applicant?
  4. What are the average hours they work?
  5. What are the terms of their employment? Are they employed full time or on a contract?
  6. What is/was their position within the company?
  7. Have you ever needed to reprimand this person at work?
  8. Would you employ this person again? Why/why not?

Sometimes, an applicant will offer you personal or character references to supplement their rental application. Some landlords don’t accept these references thinking they’ll be biased in favour of the renter. However, in some cases, they can paint a well-rounded picture of the applicant’s lifestyle and character. You could ask the following questions of a personal referee:

Screening questions for a tenant’s personal reference

  1. How do you know the applicant?
  2. How long have you known them?
  3. How do they spend their spare time?
  4. Have you been to the renter’s home before? How would you describe it?
  5. Do they smoke?
  6. Do they have pets?
  7. Can you describe their overall character?
  8. Do you know their current relationship/marital status?

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If you take your time to conduct detailed reference checks with an applicant’s referees, you should be able to pick up on any red flags. It’s a small investment of your time to help mitigate any headaches down the track. Could you spot a problem? Don’t miss these 5 red flags.

Want to make the screening process even easier? Try RentCheck, a tool from that screens your potential tenants before they sign a lease. You can use RentCheck to screen potential renters, confirming items such as their tenancy database history, identity, court records, rental payment defaults and bankruptcy. is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.