Checking Tenant References

Always call current and previous landlords or managers for references--even if you have a written letter of reference from a previous landlord. Be sure to ask questions about the following issues:

  • the tenant's rental history (how long they lived at a place and how much rent they paid)
  • any problems. such as whether the tenant ever paid rent late, had noisy parties, or made unreasonable demands or complaints, and
  • whether or not the tenant took care of the property and left it in good condition.

Also, contact an applicant's employer to verify income and length of employment. Some employers may require written authorization from the employee before talking with you; rental applications usually include this type of release.

Take notes of conversations with all landlord, employer, and other references and keep your notes on file with rental applications. You may need this information should a disappointed applicant file a discrimination complaint or lawsuit against you.

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