Do’s And Don’ts Of a Tenant Interview

Across the globe many people everyday rent their property. They give permission to another party to use their property for a certain period. Therefore before renting the property it is necessary to know the tenants first. This is necessary to protect the property from irresponsible tenants. Therefore, proper screening of tenants is necessary and there are certain qualifications every landlord should use to evaluate the prospective renters. Most property owners use these qualifications to find the most qualified tenants for their property. Therefore they can take a not so formal interview of the prospective tenants and select them if they meet the required criteria. 


There are a few guidelines for property owners regarding what they can ask and what they cannot to the tenants during the interview. They must abide by such rules and not end up harassing the tenants. 


Do’s Of The Tenant Interview

  • Ask about the income and employment: The property owners must ask this question to make sure that the tenants have an adequate source of income. This ensures rent on time. 
  • Ask about the number of adults that will be living in the property: As per the occupancy guidelines, there is a restricted number of people that can live in a rented property. And it is also necessary to add the names of all the members in the lease who are above 18 years. Therefore this question is necessary.
  • Credit check: Owners can run the credit check of the tenants but only after their permission. This shall help in ensuring the timely rents and also the financial background of the tenants.
  • Do ask if they have ever been evicted: An eviction may be due to the problematic behavior or nature of the tenant, therefore, knowing this is necessary. Asking this question shall also give them the opportunity to explain the situation if any.


Don’ts Of The Tenant Interview

  • Don’t ask questions based on race, religion, familial status, age, sex or national origin. Asking such questions shall be a serious violation of the Fair Hosing Act.
  • A landlord cannot ask a tenant question related to his familial status. This includes a question on marital status and the number of children. He cannot accept or reject an application based on such irrational question. Asking such questions shall be a violation of the act. 
  • Owners must not do background or credit checks only on a few tenants. Asking for credit checks only from a few tenants may consider the owners responsible for discriminatory behavior. Therefore, he must set the same standards for every applicant.
  • Don’t ask the tenant if he has ever been arrested because the HUD forbids using the word arrested. Therefore avoiding these guidelines shall result in legal actions on the landlord. 



Through an interview, it becomes easy for a landlord to keep the most qualified tenant in his property. This ensures timely payment, proper take care of the property and also timely vacation of the property. This shall keep the landlords away from any legal trouble.

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