One of the most important tools that you have as an owner to protect your investment is a quality resident. Resident screening is a vital part of the leasing process so today we have a set of questions that will help you gather information to evaluate a prospective resident and make a good decision. When trying to find a quality resident, you can save yourself a lot of time by knowing what questions to ask potential residents.

The first thing you must ask is their basic information. First name, last name, and phone number.

After getting their basic info then you want to ask some basic resident screening questions. We will call them pre-screening questions. This will help you assess whether you are a good match for them and them for you.

Pre – Screening Questions

  • What is your current address?
  • How Many Occupants Will Be Living In The Apartment?
  • Do You Have Any Animals? – Side note: you can ask if they have any pets but you shouldn’t ask if they have any assistance animals.
  • Why are you moving?
  • What is your ideal move-in date?
  • How many people will be living in the unit?
  • Can you provide references from your two former landlords?

The next important set of questions are the financial ones. This is one if the most important areas because it will help you determine if the prospective resident has the ability to pay rent on time.


  • Do you have a job? ask for company name/ Applicant’s employer phone number/ Applicant’s employer HR department phone number. Then ask to the HR department: Does the applicant work there? / How long have they worked there/ What is their hourly, weekly or yearly salary?/ Is there any anticipated change in their salary in the next year?
  • What is your monthly income? – Side note: Is their monthly income 3x the rent?
  • What is their credit score? Side note: 66% of Americans have a credit score of “Good” or better. A score of 670 is “Good” according to Experian. You should look at your local market to decide what’s an appropriate score.
  • Have you ever been late paying your rent?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Do You Have The First Month’s Rent Plus Security Deposit?
  • Have You Ever Filed For Bankruptcy?

The following set of questions you should ask are background & reference questions. A background check will help you find out more about your prospective resident. It will help you know if they follow the rules if they have a criminal record or any major red flags.

Background & references

Here are some companies that do back background checks



Experian Connect

Lease Runner


Screening Works

Resident Alert


Landlord References

  • What were the start and end dates of the lease?
  • Were there any late or partial payments?
  • Were there any noise violations or disturbances?
  • In what condition did they leave the property?
  • Did they threaten or try to sue you?
  • Would you rent to them again?

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