How to interview tenants and know when they tell porky pies!

We've teamed up with forensic mind reader Colin Cloud and, whose video gives you top tips on how to tell whether your prospective tenants are telling the truth or telling porky pies!

The best ways to ensure a successful tenancy is finding the right tenant in the first place. While the financial and rental background of tenants can be checked by us, it's harder to check whether someone intends to move in extra people, have pets or smoke in the property. Recent research by Direct Line Landlord Insurance showed that 21% of tenants smoked when forbidden and 18% kept a pet without permission.

When you are taking prospective tenants around the property you can ask the following questions - but watch their body language as well as listening to what they say. Forensic mind reader, Colin Cloud along with the team from have shared their top tips on how to spot a tricky customer:

1. Why do you need to move?

Listen carefully. This question can tell you a lot about the tenant. You want to look for legitimate reasons such as changing jobs or wanting more room. Try and read between the lines

2. How long were you in your last property and when do you need to move in?

If they want to move-in tomorrow, they may not be the most responsible person. In general, responsible tenants will start their search well in advance, at least a month, of their anticipated move-in date.

3. What is your monthly income and how are you going to pay the rent?

  • This question can help you determine if the prospective tenant will be able to afford the property.
  • At this point find out more about what type of work they do, where they work, how long they have been working there.
  • If not paying the rent themselves find out if it will come from benefits, employer or parents?
  • Keep in mind that the monthly income may not tell the whole story.

4. How many people will be moving in?

The fewer people in the apartment, the less wear and tear there will be on your property.

5. Can you provide references from your employer and former landlord and are you happy for credit checks?

  • 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 because they may just be trying to get the tenant off their hands.

6. Have You Ever Been Evicted?

While the prospective tenant may not tell the truth, it is still worth asking. Directly asking the prospective tenant if they have been evicted will give the tenant an opportunity to explain the situation if they have.

7. Do you Smoke

If you want a no smoking property It's best to ask people direct and use your powers of smell!

8. Do You Have Any Pets and do you wish to have pets?

If you have a "no pets" policy, a prospective tenant with a pet will be a deal breaker. It is best to know right away, so you do not waste any more of your time interviewing them.

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