Phone Screening Prompt Sheet

Our MassLandlords phone screening prompt sheet has been edited and updated to provide members with a set of phone interview questions that will help you choose the best possible tenant for your rental. From top to bottom, the updated form allows you to keep a comprehensive record of your applicant pre-screening process, with customizable questions to provide an interview experience tailored to your needs.

The top right corner of our phone screening form provides a year-month-day format to document calls and voicemails. This form has handwriting indicating two calls and two voicemails were left over a two-day period, followed by a no-show for an in-person appointment.

Our new form allows you to use a simple pattern to document your call history with a prospective tenant. Here, we can see our landlord left a voicemail for his applicant at 12:35 p.m. on March 15, which was followed by a phone call at 12:52 p.m. A second voicemail was left on March 16, followed by another phone call scheduling a walk-through the next day. The applicant was a no-show to that appointment. (License: CC by SA 4.0 MassLandlords, Inc.)

Starting at the top of the page, the new form has a place for you to record the date and time of your interview, along with space to document whether the call was completed on the first attempt, or if you had to leave a voicemail. Repeat calls can be documented using the recommended pattern on the form (see image). It’s best practice to keep a thorough, accurate record of all tenant interactions. This area will help you remember this crucial step.

Moving down the list, you’ll see that many of the most basic questions remain the same. There are certain things you need to know, such as when your applicants would like to move in . Our form helps you keep track of all the important details.

Some other questions have been tailored for customization by you. For example, a question about move-in monies now offers you the option to ask only about the various payments you accept. This helps ensure you’re asking the questions that are right for you, so you get the answers you really need.

If your applicant is applying as a single tenant, then you need only ask about their credit score. But if there will be multiple adults on the lease, you’ll want to know if they all can pass your screening, not just the person making the call. We’ve reworded this question to encourage your potential renter to let you know how everyone’s score is.

We used to suggest you ask your tenant if their current landlord would give them a good recommendation. But if your applicant is actually a nightmare tenant, an unscrupulous landlord may be compelled to lie to get them to move out as fast as possible.

Instead, we now suggest you ask for recommendations from the landlord prior to the current one. This person has no stake in the outcome of the rental application. Before, our form was out of sync with what we advised landlords, but now, it backs up what we’ve been saying all along.

Some leases have unique rules, such as quiet hours. If your tenancy agreement has such stipulations, it’s best if everyone knows about them as soon as possible. A new optional question allows you to find out if you and this applicant will be a good fit for each other.

If your potential renter passes the screen, you’re on to setting up an appointment to view the property. Once you do so, new details on the form remind you to tell your applicant to text or call if they cannot make the appointment. No-shows may be disqualified.

Remember, every landlord should use the process that’s right for them. Some housing providers don’t like to use the phone to pre-screen and would prefer to send a questionnaire to their applicant to fill out. Other landlords might want all interested renters to fill out a full application. Whatever your process is, our new sheet is designed to help you find the most compliant and informative wording for every question.

Finally, we provide instructions on what to do if your applicant does not pass the screening. This is just as important as conducting the screening in the first place.

You can find this members-only content and many other forms online at

Latest Version: 13.2
  • v 13.1
    • Internal Revision

To view this form, you must be logged-in and a member in good standing

Log in or join to access all rental forms

Sample of Massachusetts tenancy at will rental agreement

MassLandlords is a nonprofit dedicated to helping owners rent their property. We try our best, but we can't guarantee these forms will always work. We provide legal information but never advice particular to your situation. Nothing on this site is meant to create an attorney-client relationship. We advise you consult with an attorney.