liv.rent's complete guide to the questions renters should ask landlords throughout the rental process

56 Questions Renters Should Ask Landlords Before Signing A Lease

Many renters seem to think that landlords are the only ones who can ask questions during the application and rental process, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only is it your right as a tenant to be properly informed about the property you may be renting, but it’s also your duty to clarify any uncertainties you may have to ensure you’re entering your new rental arrangement fully aware of what’s expected of you. To give you an idea of what kind of questions renters should ask landlords, liv.rent has broken down the rental process into stages, with checkpoints where you should ask questions or request certain information. We’ve also included some sample questions in this article – if you’d like to see our complete list with all 56 questions, be sure to download our full guide below.


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56 Questions To Ask A Potential Landlord

Renters have to look out for rental scams, and those who know what questions to ask are much better prepared to avoid them. Download this ultimate checklist for questions you should ask the landlord before signing a lease.


What kind of questions to ask landlords

As a renter, you’ll likely be asked for a variety of information as you apply for listings and navigate the rental process. While you don’t necessarily need to know your landlord’s employment history or whether they have pets, there are still plenty of pertinent details about their listing and rental practices you should inquire about before signing a lease.

These will largely be questions related to your own potential tenancy – anything you’d like to clarify such as details related to their policies or expected responsibilities, as well as questions about their own rental history and the unit you might be renting. If a landlord is hesitant to answer these questions or seems evasive, this could be a bad sign. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re walking into a rental scam, it’s not a good sign of things to come if they’re not willing to answer basic questions about their listing

There are a few ‘checkpoints’ as you progress through the application and rental process with key questions renters should ask the landlord or property manager. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  1. Right from when you begin your rental search, be on the lookout for rental scams. Ask yourself questions about each listing’s legitimacy and be critical in your search.
  2. After submitting your application, open up a dialogue with the landlord. Ask them questions about the property and their own history as a landlord – being proactive is never a bad idea.
  3. During or after a showing is your best chance to ask questions about the unit, including the condition, lease terms, and key dates for moving in.
  4. Before you put pen to paper on a lease agreement, be sure you understand everything, and double-check if there’s anything that’s unclear or that wasn’t previously mentioned.

We’ll share a few examples of questions for each of these checkpoints here in this post, but remember to download our complete guide with 56 questions renters should ask for the complete list.


Checkpoint #1 – Questions to ask yourself when browsing listings

Your primary objective at this early stage is to head off rental scams long before they become an issue. There are some tell-tale signs to look out for when browsing listings, and some questions renters should ask themselves about the validity of the listing. Here are some examples:

  • Is the listing verified?
  • Does the listing look too good to be true?
  • Do the listing photos look suspicious?
  • Is the unit priced too low? Too high? (you can check our monthly Rent Reports for your area’s rental averages)

Pro-tip: On liv.rent, you can browse listings with confidence thanks to our extensive verification processes for both landlords and listings. You can read more about how we verify profiles and properties here.


Checkpoint #2 – Questions to ask the landlord after applying

Now that you’ve officially applied, the landlord will likely have some follow-up questions for you regarding details in your application or anything you didn’t include. This is also your chance to learn a bit more about the property, and about how you’ll proceed through the rental process, as well as questions renters should ask about the landlord themself and what they’d like to see in a renter. Here are some questions you can ask at this point:

  • What are the next steps?
  • Do you require renters insurance?
  • How much interest have you had in this unit?
  • Can you describe your ideal tenant?

Checkpoint #3 – Questions to ask during/after a showing

The next major milestone in your rental journey is attending a showing, whether in-person or virtually. Regardless, there are some questions renters should ask about the unit itself at this stage to learn more about how it has been maintained, how long it’s been empty for, and any questions related to rules or policies surrounding your occupancy. Here are some examples:

  • What’s the expected move-in date?
  • Does the unit currently have any damage?
  • How often do you conduct inspections of the property?
  • Are you planning any major renovations/repairs in the near future?
  • Who will be the main point of contact?

Checkpoint #4 – Questions to ask before signing a lease

The final hurdle you’ll have to cross before your rental arrangement is official is signing the all-important lease agreement. Before you do though, you’ll want to make sure everything is in order and you understand every lease term completely. If there are any details you aren’t sure about, this is your last chance to ask questions before the agreement becomes legally binding. Here are some examples:

  • Can you clarify this term?
  • What’s the best way to reach you?
  • Is lease renewal an option?
  • How do you accept rent payments?

For an expanded list of questions for each of these four checkpoints, plus additional checkpoints and questions not mentioned here, be sure to download your copy of our full guide.


56 Questions To Ask A Potential Landlord

Renters have to look out for rental scams, and those who know what questions to ask are much better prepared to avoid them. Download this ultimate checklist for questions you should ask the landlord before signing a lease.


liv.rent tips and resources for renters

In addition to taking an active role in your rental search by asking plenty of questions, there are a few other strategies we’d recommend for keeping yourself safe and ensuring you find your perfect rental home. Using a variety of liv.rent features, you can not only save yourself time by automating your rental search and applications, and also eliminate a lot of the uncertainty that comes with browsing listings and interacting with landlords. Here are three of our top tips:

Tip #1: Look out for verified listings & landlords

When browsing most listing websites, it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not without relying on your own intuition. Thankfully, liv.rent has made it easier than ever to browse listings safely with our multi-step verification processes. Keep an eye out for the icons below and rent with confidence knowing that you’re interacting with real landlords and listings.

This icon means users are ID verified. Users with this icon next to their name indicate that their profile name has been matched to a piece of government-issued ID that they submitted.

This icon means rental listings are listing verified. Listings with this icon next to the address indicate that the rental property has been verified by mail or by matching the landlord’s name to official documents, such as land title documents or property tax forms.

Tip #2: Take advantage of liv.rent’s easy one-click applications

Applying for rentals is easier than ever on liv.rent thanks to convenient one-click applications. Complete your profile once and apply to multiple listings in just seconds, all your relevant information is available to landlords instantly with the all-new Trust Score. Cut down on your time spent searching and apply to more rentals with less effort – you can watch the video below for a quick guide on how to apply for listings on liv.rent.


Tip #3: Keep track of conversations with the chat timeline

Communicating with landlords and keeping track of your chat history is a breeze with liv.rent’s chat timelines. In one place, you can:

  • Inquire about a listing
  • Send in your application
  • Receive a contract from a landlord
  • Send your signed version of the digital lease back to your landlord
  • Receive payment requests
  • Review credit card or bitcoin payment receipts

Additional resources

If you’d like to learn more about how to conduct a safe, efficient rental search, be sure to check out these other resources from liv.rent full of tips for everything from leveraging liv.rent features for easier searching, to keeping your data safe when renting online.

Searching for rentals

Applying for rentals

Signing a lease

Looking for the complete list with all 56 questions renters should ask potential landlords during the application process? Download your copy here to unlock the full guide.


56 Questions To Ask A Potential Landlord

Renters have to look out for rental scams, and those who know what questions to ask are much better prepared to avoid them. Download this ultimate checklist for questions you should ask the landlord before signing a lease.



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Greg Park, B.A.

Creative Content Writer at liv.rent

Greg Park is a Creative Content Writer here at liv.rent who shares insights and news with our community of landlords and tenants. [Read Full Bio]

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