Enhance your Tenant Screening Process When You Avoid these Questions

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As a Landlord, you have the right to do a thorough process in screening potential tenants. You want a tenant who is responsible for paying their bills on time, is stable when it comes to employment and has a good background from their previous landlords.  While a careful screening process gives you a great tenant,…

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As a Landlord, you have the right to do a thorough process in screening potential tenants. You want a tenant who is responsible for paying their bills on time, is stable when it comes to employment and has a good background from their previous landlords.  While a careful screening process gives you a great tenant, there are some tenant screening questions you may want to avoid. 

Some questions are simply off-limits. Asking a tenant about their religion, race, politics or arrest records is a big no-no. Avoid questions that may also violate the law.

What do I have to Avoid?

You may want to know more about the tenants who are showing interest in your property. When a landlord or the property manager meets the potential tenant, you want to learn more about them and if they want to stay long-term and how they can take care of your property. But if you ask too many questions that may seem a bit personal or discriminatory, you may lose your potential tenant. It is believed by our team that below are the most common questions you should steer away from. 

Personal Questions

As a landlord or a property manager, you have every right to know the person who will live at your rental property. However, you have to be mindful of asking personal questions. A potential tenant may feel uneasy if you ask questions that may also invade their privacy. 

Prevent asking questions about their marital status, source of income, age or gender orientation and religion as well.

It is your decision if you will allow pets into your property, however, there is a different set of regulations if your tenant is with a service pet. Do not ask your tenant if they have children or how many children they have. Instead, ask how many occupants there will be since children are not considered as tenants. 

Questions that may violate the law

Avoid questions that may seem discriminatory towards a certain class of people. The Federal Fair Housing Act was created to end discriminatory practices related to housing. In this act, it is believed that every person has the right to rent and purchase a home or get a mortgage on a home without being afraid of being discriminated against. There are seven classes protected by this act, these are color, disability, race, religion, national origin, sex, and familial status.

Some questions or statements you want to avoid are:


  • Are you bi-racial? White or Hispanic?
  • Where were you born?
  • I’m not confident in renting my property to an immigrant
  • Are you disabled?
  • What is your first language?


These questions may come out as curiosity questions only that you randomly throw out, however, they can be discriminatory and you might be violating the Federal Fair Housing law.

Arrest Records

Have you ever been arrested before? Do you have any criminal records?

This one question may overwhelm your potential tenant. Always remember that arrests are different from convictions. You can run a background check to determine if your potential tenant has convictions before. It will be up to you if you will still consider the tenant to rent your property. You cannot discriminate against a person just because they have convictions. However,  if their conviction may impact them being a good tenant, involving them in drug-related convictions or violence that can put other tenants at risk, then it is your decision if you will accept the tenant or not.

Same Questions for Everyone

When you go through your tenant screening process, you have a standard set of questions to ask your tenants. Don’t go beyond what you usually ask just because they seem like they cannot afford the monthly rent or are dress bad. It is also inappropriate to ask more questions if you already have run a credit check and background check. More specifically if you only ask additional questions like have they had evictions before or had conflicts from their previous landlords on certain tenants that are Asian, African-American or because of their religion. Picking tenants should be unbiased and you should only ask standard questions to all.



Tenant Screening is a demanding process. Every landlord’s dream is to have a very reliable and responsible tenant. It is your right to be strict when it comes to screening every tenant, but of course, steer clear of questions that are unnecessary and might get you in trouble in the future or worse, with the law.

Green Ocean Management Property has a standard way of qualifying a tenant for you. We make sure that we only ask appropriate questions and followed a set of proven guidelines in landing you the perfect tenant. We are professional and unbiased. 

Green Ocean Property Management will handle the tedious tenant screening process for you and we can assure you that you will get a tenant who is financially responsible, stable and someone who has a good relationship with their previous landlords. Our goal is to look for the most qualified tenant for your property.  We stick to our effective guidelines and standards in tenant screening.

Give us a call now and let us help you!

 Reach us at hello@greenoceanpm.com or call 617-487-4868. You may also visit our office at 268 Centre St Newton MA 02458.


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