So you finally found an great tenant and all that is left is to check their previous landlord. You got a great recommendation, moved in the tenant and within 3 months your place looks like a mess and the rent is late. What happened?
Well, one of two things happened. It could be that their previous landlord wanted them gone so bad they lied so you would take them. Most likely that's not the case, especially if it was another management company. Most likely you fell for the landlord-tenant scheme where they have their friend pose as the landlord and they give you that friends number as their landlord contact.
This happens all the time now, and we in the property management business know this, so how do you ptotect yourself if you don't have a manager? Here's some easy steps to help avoid this issue:
- Check with court property records and see if the landlord they gave you is listed as the actual property owner.
- Ask for a copy of a utility bill to see if they actually lived where they said.
- If its a company they rented from, they will not answer questions over the phone without a signed authorization so if they freely give you information its most likely a scam.
Ask the landlord a few questions and see if they stumble. Landlords know all the details, their friends don't.
- Such as how much rent did they pay, what type of house or apartment is it, did it have a garage or basement.
None of this is foolproof, but it will help you cut down on getting scammed by prospects. Also-make sure to check court cases for evictions and criminal activity and for sex offender status.