The 3 most important questions to ask rental applicants

By Jamil Allouche

Whether you've just bought your first Brunswick rental property (congratulations!) or you're looking to fill a recently vacated tenancy, it always pays to learn a little about potential tenants before a lease is signed. As good tenants can be hard to come by, take the opportunity to chat to would-be tenants at the open home or over the phone once applications have been reviewed.

To help you find your ideal tenants amongst the pile of applications, here are three questions you should ask.

1. Why are you moving?

Finding out why your applicant is looking to move could easily raise some red flags. Recent evictions or disputes could be a sign that the applicant has a history of bad behaviour or rental arrears.

That said, take the time to enquire about any evictions – it's possible the applicant truly wasn't at fault. For example, a landlord may have chosen not to renew the lease on their last home simply because he or she wanted to renovate or accommodate a loved one.

2. What is your weekly income?

As rent is charged weekly, you should be aware how much an applicant is bringing home each week. Rental stress occurs when tenants are paying more than one-third of their take home pay on rent alone. Tenants struggling to make ends meet may have little time for household upkeep or may fall into arrears. Unfortunately, Census data shows the occurrence of rental stress is rising, so you might struggle to find tenants with a comfortable amount of income.

In this case, it could pay to ask about other expenses and debts to get an idea of how well the applicant would be able to keep up with rent payments.

3. How many people will be living with you?

Just because you're talking to a single person, doesn't mean only one occupant will be moving in. For example, one family member may be searching for a home alone, while the kids are at school and his or her partner is at work. It's a good idea to have all legal adults living in the premises named on the lease agreement, whether they're tenants or just occupants, so you can keep track of who is living in your property.

Choosing tenants isn't easy – and it certainly doesn't come without a great deal of stress. However, that doesn't have to be on your shoulders. Working with a professional property managers puts the hard tasks in the hands of an expert. Talk to the team at Ray White Brunswick today to learn more about property management services.

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