Questions To Ask When Calling References For Renting – #element1 body.layout-0 .key-points > h2
When selecting a new tenant for your rental property, calling your applicant’s previous landlord for a reference check can be an important part of the screening process. A landlord referral can help you answer important questions such as:
Questions To Ask When Calling References For Renting
Finding the perfect tenant for your rental property requires due diligence and patience. Taking the time to ensure your tenant is reliable and responsible can save you the hassle of evictions and costly repairs down the road. Before choosing a new tenant, call the previous owner.
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Below, we’ll cover the top reasons why you should call previous landlords, questions to ask when checking references, and how to use this information to help you make a more informed rental decision.
References from former landlords can indicate how an applicant would occupy your property, and this information can help you avoid bad outcomes such as rent arrears, property damage, complaints from neighbors or eviction.
The eviction process is long and expensive. According to research by TransUnion, moving a tenant out can take up to three to four weeks and cost an average of $3,500. Finding a long-term and responsible tenant will always be worth the effort, and checking landlord references is an important part of the tenant screening process.
It is always wise to contact the applicant’s current landlord and at least one of their previous landlords. This will give you a much better overview of the applicant and their behavior patterns. Why? The applicant’s current landlord may not be fully prepared to get rid of a bad tenant. Make sure you compare the reviews of the current landlord with the previous one(s) to get a more complete picture of your applicant. Calling a previous landlord for a second opinion can help you gain a more objective view of your applicant’s tenant’s past.
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Remember that landlord referral checks are not reliable; the landlord you speak to may not be providing the most accurate information – whether on purpose or not. If they manage a multi-unit property, they may replace your applicant with someone else and, as mentioned earlier, may gloss over unpleasant details if they want to get rid of their tenant. That’s why it’s important to run reference checks in addition to credit, criminal, income and eviction checks to get a more complete picture of your applicant.
Prepare a list of questions before calling the applicant’s previous landlord. Here are some standard questions to add to your list.
This list is extensive, but by no means exhaustive. Use them as a starting point and add your own questions; prepare inquiries that will provide you with the information you need to make an excellent decision for your property.
Answers gathered from previous landlords can be extremely valuable, but be sure to study the information they provide to assess what might be biased or subjective – it’s up to you to decide if the tenant is right for your property.
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There are several signs that can help you decide if a roommate is right for you. These guidelines can help you decide what information is most valuable to you in your decision-making process:
Using SmartMove in conjunction with a landlord reference check can help you see if your tenant is likely to be a good fit for your rental property. We offer nationwide eviction reports so you can get your applicant’s eviction records.
SmartMove also offers tenant credit reports, criminal background checks and an income assessment to help you screen your new tenant. With one of the largest FCRA-compliant eviction databases, including more than 16 million eviction records, SmartMove offers broad coverage and fast, reliable data.
When it comes to finding a good tenant, the more information you have, the better. Do not fall for an unreliable tenant; conduct a comprehensive tenant check that includes credit and criminal checks, income and eviction checks, and phone calls to the applicant’s previous landlords to help you make the best rental decision for your property.
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Andrea Collatz is a senior marketing analyst at TransUnion SmartMove. It focuses on topics that empower independent landlords with data, insights and industry best practices typically reserved for large property management companies. She is also involved in marketing activities and social media efforts aimed at communicating the importance of tenant screening to independent landlords. As a landlord, you’ll probably need to write a referral for a tenant at some point. It may even be your policy to ask for a letter of recommendation from tenants applying for your rental. A landlord reference letter helps you confirm that the tenant is reliable and can abide by the terms of the lease – and more importantly, you can provide the same information to other landlords upon request.
Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. , Inc. makes no warranties as to the sufficiency of the information contained in or related to this manual or compliance with applicable, applicable or local law. Landlord and tenant laws change rapidly and can be regulated at the federal, state, and local levels. This resource is not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney; you should not rely on this resource for any purpose without consulting a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
If you’re the one asking for a letter of recommendation for a tenant, be sure to state that you want it from a former landlord—you don’t want the potential tenant to assume it could be a letter of recommendation from a friend, co-worker, or roommate .
Your tenant referral letter should never violate fair housing laws by discriminating against a protected class of tenants. This includes treating someone differently because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, family status, disability, and more. By invoking someone’s membership in a protected class, you may inadvertently violate fair housing laws, even if you’re being complimentary.
Questions To Ask A Potential Tenant’s References
Depending on your local law, you may need to consider additional protected classes when negotiating with a tenant. It’s always a good idea to have a local attorney review your landlord referral letter before you send it.
Whether you’re asking a former landlord for more information or writing a formal letter, remember to be professional. Never let emotions or prejudice cast a false light on the tenant, whether positive or negative.
Did the tenant pay rent on time and take care of the property? Was their dog well behaved and well cared for? Describe your shared rental history with facts, not opinions. You can refer to the rules and policies in your rental agreement and describe how the tenant followed or violated them.
The most critical part of writing a personal recommendation for housing or other real estate is honesty. You don’t want to mislead a potential landlord about a demanding tenant, or make inaccurate statements that could create a negative impression of the tenant. Do your best to support all your statements with supporting documents, such as rent receipts or rent arrears notices.
Ways To Write A Letter Showing Proof Of Residence For A Tenant
A landlord reference letter template will make it easier to maintain your professionalism and can save time when you need to write multiple letters. You can use our sample landlord reference letter to get started – just copy and paste into your document and fill in the blanks.
Before you send a letter of recommendation to a tenant or landlord, be sure to read it
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