50 Questions to Ask a Reference for a Tenant

As a landlord, you want to make sure that you’re renting your space to a tenant who will take care of the property and pay their rent on time every month. One way to screen potential tenants is to talk to their references.

Here are a few questions to ask a reference for a tenant to help you get an idea of what kind of tenant they might be.

50 Questions you can ask a reference for a tenant:

  1. Does the tenant have any outstanding debts owed to you?
  2. Is the tenant employed? If so, where do they work and what do they do?
  3. How long has the tenant been employed? 
  4. Does the tenant have any gaps in employment history? 
  5. What is the tenant’s current job title? 
  6. Do they have any side hustles or businesses?
  7. What are the hours that the tenant works? 
  8. How much does the tenant earn? 
  9. How is the tenant’s work performance? 
  10. How long has the tenant lived at their current address? 
  11. Does the tenant have any roommates? If so, how well do they get along? 
  12. Has the tenant ever been evicted from a property? If so, why? 
  13. Does the tenant have any pets? If so, what kind and how many? 
  14. If so, how well do they take care of them?
  15. Does the tenant have any apparent behavioral or psychological issues? 
  16. Is the tenant generally tidy or messy? 
  17. Is the tenant quiet or loud? 
  18. Does the tenant have any hobbies that could potentially disturb neighbors (e.g., playing music loudly, or working on cars)? 
  19. Is there anything else you feel we should know about the tenant before making a decision? 
  20. Do they follow through on their commitments?
  21. Do they take the initiative?
  22. Are they polite and respectful?
  23. What is the tenant’s current living situation? Are they renting, living with family, etc.?
  24. Are there any problems with their current living situation?
  25. How well do they manage their finances?
  26. Do they have any guests over often? 
  27. What are their long-term rental goals?
  28. How long have you known the tenant?
  29. In what capacity do you know the tenant?
  30. Could you describe the tenant’s personality?
  31. Do you think the tenant would be a good fit for this rental unit? Why or why not?
  32. Has the tenant ever been convicted of a crime? If so, please explain.
  33. Does the tenant have any allergies or medical conditions that we should be aware of?
  34. When is the tenant looking to move in?
  35. When is the earliest date that the tenant could provide a damage deposit?
  36. Would you recommend the tenant to us? Why or why not? 
  37. Would you describe the tenant as responsible?
  38. Does the tenant pay rent on time?
  39. Has the tenant ever been late in paying rent?
  40. How does the tenant handle conflict?
  41. Does the tenant follow rules and regulations?
  42. How does the tenant care for their living space?
  43. Does the tenant throw parties or gatherings often?
  44. Is the tenant involved in any illegal activities?
  45. Has the tenant ever been charged with a crime?
  46. What is your relationship with the tenant?
  47. Is the tenant responsible for bills and other payments?
  48. Does the tenant have any medical conditions that may require special accommodations?
  49. Is the tenant comfortable with having people in their space?
  50. What kind of things does the tenant like to do in their free time?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tenant reference?

A tenant reference is a letter from a landlord or management company confirming a tenant’s rental history and good standing. It is often required by landlords or management companies when a tenant moves into a new property.

A tenant reference can help verify the tenant’s information and determine if there have been any previous issues with landlords or management companies.

Do landlords call references?

Some landlords do, some don’t – it depends on the landlord’s preferences and the rental market in which they operate. Generally, landlords want to check at least one reference before renting to a prospective tenant. This can be a reference from a previous landlord, an employer, or a character reference.


Asking these questions about a potential tenant’s references will give you a better idea of what kind of tenant they’ll be. While no reference check is absolutely certain, it can give you confidence that you’ve done your due diligence in screening your applicants.

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