Useful Questions for Tenant Referencing

Tenant referencing is one of the most essential parts of searching for a new tenant. Sometimes, it can be incredibly exhausting to get in touch with a tenant’s former landlord. Still, communicating with these former landlords can help you in verifying several things.

Checking the references of your tenants is a significant part of the outstanding attentiveness process. So, you must take out some time to make sure your prospective tenant is responsible and reliable as it can save you from a lot of problems and obstacles ahead.

Whether this is the first time doing tenant referencing or you just want more insights on the right way to do it, we have come up with a list of questions to ask tenant references. Always keep them at hand while making the phone call and jot down on points that require additional investigation.


12 Questions for tenant referencing

tenant referencing

Could you confirm the address of their former property?

This simple question can verify whether the person you are speaking to is the actual landlord or somebody the tenant has asked to give a reference for the sake of ticking the box. 

Who was registered on the tenancy contract?

If the former landlord states somebody else was there on the tenancy contract, you need to follow up with the tenant. Determine the current whereabouts of that person and why they are not living together anymore.

This can signify a potentially troubled relationship and help you make an informed decision if your prospective tenant proposes to add that person to the tenancy contract. 

How long did the tenant dwell in the property?

Besides legitimate reasons, such as the landlord needing the property for selling or moving-in purposes, it can be concerning if a tenancy did not stay for long. It is good to determine why the resident does not remain in a respective place for long, especially if you require one for the long-run.

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Why did the tenant leave?

You must find out the reasons that your prospective tenant gave to their former landlords for moving out. If the tenant gave notice due to wanting to upsize, downsize, or close to family, you could detect that they will happily settle in.

This question helps in highlighting any sort of differences between the tenant’s and former landlord’s words. 

Did the tenant pay rent on a timely basis?

If the answer to this question is no, you need to do further investigation. There are many hurdles that people go through, so it is technically unwise to rule out a potential tenant who has previously struggled to pay rent on time.

If there were many gaps in the payments, you should question the former landlord how they dealt with it. If the resident was going through issues and made up for the late payments by paying in full, they can be relied on for rectifying any problems during the tenancy period. 

Did the tenant communicate well with you?

As a landlord, you must focus on establishing a good and honest relationship with the tenant. Hence, if they do not communicate properly, things will become complicated. 

Did the tenant maintain the property well?

You could ask the former landlords if your prospective tenant maintained and looked after the property correctly or not. If the property was not adequately taken care of, try to find out the cause.

These questions are subjective, and sometimes former landlords will hold tenants accountable for even the most minimal wear and tear. So, make sure you evaluate the issues carefully before rejecting an applicant on dubious grounds.

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Did the tenant keep any pets?

Not all landlords permit tenants to keep pets. Hence, if the former landlord informs you that the tenant kept a pet without permission, it signifies a red flag. If you do allow your tenant to keep pets, you should find out details about them.

Find out if the property was damaged and if any complaints were registered about pets from the neighbors. 

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Was the tenant on favorable terms with other tenants and neighbors?

If there were any complaints from either of the two, you should look further into the problem. However, you must do a proper evaluation since some people tend to complain about the most trivial matters. 

How much notice did the tenant give before leaving?

Some unanticipated circumstances can cause them to evict the property on very short notice. However, this can put the landlord in a difficult spot. If the former landlord informs you that the tenant gave very little or no warning before moving out, be cautious. 

Did the tenant cause any damage to your property?

Suppose a previous landlord informs that the tenant damaged their property to a great extent. In that case, it is definitely not a good idea to offer your unit to them. But before ruling out someone, try to find out the context from the previous landlord. 

For instance, determine what the damage was and how the landlord dealt with it. Was there any payment offered from the tenant to rectify the damage? Did the landlord deduct money from the deposit? The damage might have also resulted from an accident, so you need to properly evaluate the cause of the damage. 

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Are you willing to rent your property to this tenant again?

This will verify if the tenant is worth renting your space to. Also, make sure to determine the reasons the former landlord is willing to rent property to the tenant again.

Contact multiple previous landlords (If Any)

It is always recommended to reference your tenants thoroughly, so contact more than one former landlord for tenant referencing to get a clearer picture of the prospective applicant. This cross-referencing will give you more in-depth information and help you better decide if the tenant is worth renting property or not.