DIY Landlord Calling for a TENANT REFERENCE Missed a LEARNING Moment

Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

I answer my own phone * actually my office land line forwards to my cel phone * so when I received a call today from a Sprint cel phone number I answered it.

It was a man IDENTIFYING HIMSELF AS A PROPERTY MANAGER requesting a tenant reference.  I advised him that I required a $25 FORMS FEE and a signed rent verification request from my current residents.....HE WENT THROUGH THE ROOF on the phone.

1)  HE was not going to pay for a prior landlord reference.  I HAD NOT ASKED HIM TO.

2) HE had never heard of a FORMS FEE and had never been charged a FEE for getting a tenant reference.  I HAD NOT ASKED HIM TO PAY OR PROVIDE THE FORM.

3) HE wanted to know my BASIS for CHARGING HIM A get the idea.  He thought HE needed to pay the fee.

I advised him that the fee and procedure is in my residents' resident handbook that is a part of their lease AND that I provide the form and THEY sign it and pay the $25.

This process has been in place for almost a decade * since I kept getting rent verification requests when residents were buying a new home and each of their mortgage lenders wanted their own form completed.  It became TEDIOUS so I instituted a FORMS FEE that has now become quite common with professional property management firms.

I provide the verification form and after receiving the residents payment, I complete it and send it electronically to their prospective landlord AND to the residents...they have it in perpetuity for subsequent landlords and EVERYBODY knows what I wrote in the verification.

I'm sorry the DIY landlord calling himself a property manager did not listen to my logic and my process....maybe he could have learned something.



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joe Jackson 02/27/2013 09:23 AM
  2. Bob Crane 03/03/2013 10:33 AM
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Seems logical to me.  The future landlord is asking you to spend time to help him with HIS business.  Of course, if the tenants had read the handbook,. . . . .

Time is money. If you're working, you should be earning.

Otherwise, go play.

Feb 27, 2013 06:17 AM #1
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Thank you, Lenn....sending my verification electronically means the residents can save it for next time....this DIY landlord was very short sighted.

Feb 27, 2013 06:44 AM #2
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

He was so angry he wasn't LISTENING.  BTW, what is a do-it-yourself landlord?

Feb 27, 2013 07:11 AM #3
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Wallace, there are many details involved in property management. I can see why you would charge the tenant the forms fee. Had DIYer stopped talking long enough and listened he might have learned something. 

Feb 27, 2013 08:03 AM #4
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


A lot of our folks go back overseas so I almost NEVER get asked for references.... wierd how different things are one area to another.

Forms fee is a great idea, but you are the queen of great ideas and smart implementation plans.

All the best, Michelle

Feb 27, 2013 08:24 AM #5
Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

So many people want you to do something for them for nothing.  Amazing.

Feb 27, 2013 08:26 AM #6
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I've offered written references to departing residents as an incentive to leave the property in good and clean condition...the forms fee and sending electronically was a LIGHT BULB moment 10 years ago

Feb 27, 2013 08:40 AM #7
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

This is an interesting policy.  What happens if the referral is not so stellar.  I wonder if the tenants would ask for their $25 back. . . ;-)  You're policy on this seems like a good one and makes sense.

Feb 27, 2013 10:54 AM #8
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Wallace.  Make sense to me.  What a smuck he was.

Feb 27, 2013 06:45 PM #9
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

One of the early reasons that I started the policy is so that LESS-THAN-STELLAR residents would not ask for a reference.....they often got the property they wanted anyway and MY STRICT RENTING POLICY was the reason they were leaving the property I managed - NOT!

Feb 27, 2013 06:54 PM #10
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Sounds like a great idea to me, Wallace.  PM companies have popped up all over the place since we went through so many foreclosures and short sales.  Many are totally clueless. 

Feb 28, 2013 10:50 AM #11
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer sales increase, many FAUX property manager/leasing agents are now abandoning their property management clients as taking too much time....

Feb 28, 2013 06:19 PM #12
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks Wallace, great learning moment.  I have not instituted this procedure yet but I will start this now.

Mar 02, 2013 12:25 PM #13
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Bob - I had a CO landlord leave me a voicemail yesterday * SATURDAY * while I was watching NASCAR...I called her back with no answer.  I texted her and then e-mailed my former resident to bring me a check on Monday

Mar 02, 2013 07:07 PM #14
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