Failing to Check References Can Cost You

Services for Real Estate Pros with AccuRental Tenant Screening

As in any business practice, checking candidate references is highly recommended as a component of your tenant screening process. Contacting prior landlords and personal references can be done pretty quickly and with minimal expense to the landlord. The data acquired through reference checking matches the data received from employment verification, identification verification, credit history, public stories, and other background tests. Calling the existing landlord may disclose an upcoming eviction or serious lease violations which could cause trouble for you.

Before checking references, it is often helpful to make a worksheet of issues you want to cover. Having a prepared script will ensure that you sound polite and profesional. In addition, it helps to guarantee all concerns are asked and requested within the same manner with each reference. Responses for the questions can be documented on the worksheet and serve as written certification to become part of the applicant’s report.

Rental History

A brief interview with an applicant may reveal an excellent fit between the housing needs of the consumer along with the rental residence of the landlord. A landlord wants firm, responsible tenants, willing and prepared to pay rent as arranged, keep property to suitable standards, and perform themselves nearly as good neighbors. Is the candidate characterized by the applicant’s rental recommendations as meeting these features? It is typically used that past habits offer signals of expected future behaviors. Rental behaviors are key to risk assessment. The best source of determine rental behavior is the applicant's current landlord.

Taking into account the landlord-tenant relationship is a contractual, method of trading, a lease arrangement is legally enforceable with responsibilities and rights clearly defined for every single party. Calling a prior landlord to determine if his rental requirements were achieved by the applicant is actually an enterprise shield, not an attack of applicant solitude. Throughout the program procedure, the candidate identified and authorized choice to conduct verifications and screenings for thought as being a tenant. In the event the tenant is a problem tenant there'll likely be red flags that show up in additional screenings. Due-diligence may help reveal false or misleading information.

Significantly affect the power of a tenant to fulfill his rental obligations. Make sure there's no rush to judgment without satisfactory data and examination of the current predicament. Think about the period of the applicant’s rental history. In the event the candidate has been a renter for quite some time, try contacting the landlord previous to his present landlord. The tenant has already managed to move on but his documents and/or his status may be valued and verify beneficial. There is always the possibility that the applicant’s present situation reaches the other extreme of the recent rental past. 

Some landlords are unwilling to make contact with former landlords thinking probably the landlord may give a great recommendation simply to move a problem tenant out. Scope and the readiness of a former landlord’s cooperation might be based mostly on the strategy the inquiring landlord requires throughout the meeting. Most landlords will increase the thanks to truthful answers for the questions being asked and recognize exactly the same factor whenever they were to make a similar call-in the near future. It is a subject of good organization.

Breach of fair housing regulations by stretching preference, rights, or waivers of rental guidelines to certain individuals in a few circumstances. A policy of non-discrimination must affect each and every applicant to ensure that tenant screenings are conducted within the same fashion, within the same way for all applicants.

Some landlords may be unwilling to provide data in spite of the assurance that there is the applicant’s closed release of info. It might be personal unwillingness or stated plan. At the least, a landlord or house administrator ought to be in a position to verify appointments of rental volumes, tenancy, and security deposit volume. A crucial issue that ought to be questioned: “Would this tenant be welcomed back?” the clear answer or the manner in which the clear answer is provided may state it-all.

Applicants planning to hold rental heritage might try and use friends as landlord referrals or use false or misleading street addresses. Be sure that you are speaking with a legitimate and proper occasion to verify past rental history. Confirming the label of the owner and house target can usually be achieved using searchable online County files. Public websites can be utilized to confirm phone numbers and address info. Legitimate landlords could have familiarity with rental data a “fake” landlord won't have.

Some candidates desire that a landlord is likely to be too busy to test rental references along with the client may slip by, preventing a negative reference or notice of returning eviction. Because the references are a crucial source of data, allow it to be an insurance policy to always check.
There might be a request from an applicant that the existing landlord not be called. Most likely the client hasn't yet given notice or doesn’t need the landlord to know he's seeking. The customer might think that adverse data, which might or may not be justified will be given by the existing landlord. The landlord should stick to his stated procedures, while the request is clear. 

In case pets are allowed by your rental plans, ask the landlord about his pet policies. Did the tenant conform to pet policies? Were any complaints received concerning the puppy? If the tenant had your dog, can the landlord confirm the breed of dog?

Questions might be asked by a personalized rental recommendations worksheet, for example:

Have been the signers about the rent?
Are there additional occupants? How many?
What were the essential lease terms?
What was the quantity of monthly rent?
That which was the security deposit amount?
Did the tenant lease other features including parking, storage, or garage?
What were transfer-in shift-out schedules?
What cause did the tenant present for leaving?
Was notice given per the lease contract?
Was a walk-thru checklist useful for transfer and shift-in -out?
Were there other deposits or fees collected?
Was there sufficient background regarding maintenance that was liability of the tenant?
Was the total security deposit returned?
Were any legal updates served?
Was it necessary to issue any warnings? Was condition treated satisfactorily?
What was the rent payment record –number of times late, most days delayed, was resolution sufficient?
If pets allowed, was landlord content with pet behaviour, without any important dog troubles?
If smoking permitted, are there any relevant damages or other issues?
Would the landlord re-rent-to the tenant?
What forms of assessment does this landlord use?

Personal References

However, while some landlords might consider references to become self-offering for that consumer, references shouldn't be ignored as being an excellent way to obtain info. Notably in former homeowners, and a tight rental market, or for first time renters, individuals returning to the rental industry, the data provided by references will make a distinction when normal resources aren't accessible or insufficient.

References generally incorporate friends, relatives, co-employees, or different folks the client regards as being able to present positive identity guidelines. Many candidates wouldn't list a guide who might provide a negative opinion. This would be taken into consideration when contacting personal references.

Some questions to ask references might be:

So how exactly does the guide recognize the client?
How long has the client been identified by the research?
How often does the reference keep in contact with the candidate?
Could be the reference a former partner or co-tenant?
Has the research served like a guide before? If yes, for what purpose?
Can there be a small business connection with the client?
Does the guide genuinely believe that the customer would have been a good tenant? Why? (Could the guide offer examples of actions that show the applicant’s great attributes?)

Homework in most levels of home management is important to lowering risk and preventing unnecessary stress and expenditure in tenant selection. Without adequate data acquired from a variety of resources, the best business decision can not be produced. Reference checking is an important part of risk-management for landlords.

Comments (1)

Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Checking references is essential, and often that is not enough.  Thanks for the list!

Apr 22, 2014 04:41 PM