Interview tips for new landlords

Decided to manage your own investment property? Here’s some interview tips for new landlords to get the most out of your screening process. When you meet prospective tenants at an open home, make sure to ask questions; lot’s of them. This is especially important when things look great on paper, but something feels a little ‘off’ about them intuitively.

These techniques may get an applicant to open up and tell you things that they had no intention of revealing.


Employed by therapists and interrogators alike, silence is a great way to get people talking. This is because people tend to become very uncomfortable when people are silent. So once you have asked a question, stay silent, no matter how much you want to jump in. If the prospective tenant is not forthcoming with an answer, don’t try and fill the gaps. Then, once they offer an answer, wait a few more seconds – they may tell you something extra they didn’t intend to; this is one of the most important interview tips for new landlords.

Open Ended Questions:
It’s impossible to answer with a Yes or No answer to questions that start with: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

Some ideas:

• What was something you DID like about your last landlord?
• What kind of electronics do you own? (Do they have a huge stereo system?!)
• When did you decide to move?
• Why did you decide to move from your last property?
• What is the longest that you have managed to keep a plant alive?

Finding out a bit more about their personalities can help you make a decision between two seemingly great tenants. What may look good on paper; good job, high income, single no kids, no pets, can become a problem once the tenant has moved in; parties every weekend, loud sound system, not enough time to maintain the property etc etc.

Always, ALWAYS, check references:

If the prospective tenant hesitates or makes excuses as to why they cannot provide references, they most likely have something to hide. References from an employer will help verify income and stable employment. You will want references from a former landlord because their current landlord may not tell you the whole truth as they may be trying to get the tenant off of their hands. It is often wise to obtain this information on your own to prevent forgery, make sure you speak directly to the referee.

Do You Have Any Questions?
This will give the tenant their chance to ask questions about the property, location, screening process, or anything else that comes to mind. This is important because even if the tenant has answered all of your qualifying questions to your satisfaction, the tenant also has to be satisfied to want to live in your property.

These interview tips for new landlords will help you get the most out of your screening process to save time and money and get you the right tenant.