Skip to Main Content
(904) 602 5555
Main Banner Image
Property Management In Jacksonville

The Most Telling Questions to Ask Your Prospective Tenant’s References

Every landlord wants the best tenant to live in their rental property. To achieve this, conduct a thorough tenant screening before deciding who can live in your property is essential.

Part of the screening process is contacting tenants’ references. Knowing what questions to ask goes a long way toward ensuring you select the right tenants for your rental property in Jacksonville.

jacksonville property manager asking tenant reference questions

About 44% of residents in Jacksonville, Florida, are renters, which is the second-highest in the metro region. Contacting an applicant’s references will have an impact on your decision to rent out your assets.

Your prospective tenants could be out-of-towners, people on job transfers, or even military personnel. At first, you will know nothing about them, so checking references will provide you with details about your prospective tenants.

The screening process is so much more important than you may think. According to this Chicago property management company, you should first, get to know your prospective tenants better before offering them a lease by asking the following questions to their references.

Inquire About the Tenant’s Identity and Previous Address

Choosing the wrong tenant could result in financial loss, stress, and the pressure of seeking a suitable replacement. 

You want to know that a tenant is dependable, trustworthy, and consistent before you commit to them. Start with confirming their identity and previous addresses. Ask for an official ID document and copy of a previous lease.

This information will help you verify their credentials and find past landlords to contact.

What is the Current Condition of the Previously Rented Property?

When speaking to a previous landlord, ask about how the tenant left the property. Was there major damage to the interior? Did the tenant receive their security deposit back in full?

Poor maintenance has become a troubling problem for existing properties in Jacksonville. It should be every landlord’s priority to know how the prospective tenants will handle their properties in Jacksonville.

As a result, consulting prior property owners where prospective tenants have resided is necessary. Asking this question could tell you the possible ways your new tenants could be handling your rental properties.

The previous landlord can also give you insight into whether they paid their rent on time.

Inquire About the Potential Tenant Credit History

It is essential to check a prospective tenant’s credit history with at least one credit reporting agency to assess the applicant’s financial responsibility.

A poor credit score does not automatically rule out a potential renter. However, when considering tenants in Jacksonville with less-than-perfect credit, you should take some extra precautions.

Checking their credit score could provide insight as to how responsible they are with making payments on time. Consider if they will pay rent on time when examining their credit history.

What is the Tenant’s Income?

Before a landlord goes through a thorough screening and job verification process of tenants in Jacksonville, a rent-to-income ratio calculator may help weed out unqualified applicants.

If a prospective tenant has insufficient wages, they will be unable to pay their rent on time or at all, and that will be a problem for the property owner later on.

So, it is critical to review an applicant’s projected income to ensure that their rent-to-income ratio meets the requirements. While they should have already provided their income on their application, verify it with their employer.

A quick call to their place of work will confirm whether or not the tenant actually works there and the salary they claim to make.

What is the Tenant’s Character?

It’s important to know the character of your tenant. This is a great question to ask close friends, previous landlords, and even an employer.

Consider the neighbors surrounding your rental property in Jacksonville. If the tenant is a known partier and can be disruptive, this may cause issues within the building or neighborhood.

Find out what your prospective tenant enjoys doing on the weekends. How do they spend their free time? Do they spend most of their time at the office, or do they work from home?

While this shouldn’t be a huge factor in determining whether or not to rent to a tenant, it is definitely something you should consider.

Why Did the Tenant Leave Their Previous Property?

When speaking to your prospective tenant’s previous landlord, ask why the tenant terminated their lease. The reason could be very telling about the tenant’s habits or character.

There are many reasons that are out of the tenant’s control as to why they would leave a property. The rent could have increased, they wanted a bigger space, or they needed to relocate for a job, are just a few of these reasons.

However, if they left because there were issues with the landlord or the landlord didn’t allow them to renew their lease, this could signal trouble for you if you decide to rent to them.

Would You Rent to This Person if You Were a Landlord?

The answer to this question can be very telling of a tenant’s character. If speaking to a previous landlord, inquire if they would rent to the tenant again. When talking to a friend or employer, ask if they would hypothetically.

Each reference should answer in the affirmative. If other people would rent their properties to the tenant, then it’s a good sign that you should too.

Renting to someone shouldn’t be taken lightly. They need to respect your property, abide by your agreements, and be reliable. If your prospective tenant has these traits, then it’s a good idea to let them sign a lease.


Cool Realty understands the importance of a thorough tenant screening process and has created a reliable and efficient method to do so. As Jacksonville’s leading property management company, property owners rely on us to find the most qualified tenants for their rentals.

Along with acquiring new tenants, we offer full-service property management packages to manage and maintain your property. When you team up with us, you’ll feel less stressed and more confident while owning a rental property in Jacksonville.

Contact us to see how we can help you find the best tenants for your rental property and increase your profits today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *