What Should I Ask Previous Landlords?

by Chris on June 24, 2013

Just as a credit report can show whether a rental applicant is financially responsible, a previous landlord reference will reveal a tenant’s rental history.

If it’s been a while since you obtained a landlord-to-landlord reference, it’s helpful to refresh your memory on what information you need to glean before you place the call.

tenant screeningAn easy way to start the conversation is to confirm some of the facts from the rental application, including:

The address of the previous residence, and

The dates the applicant rented.

From there, ask if the tenant fits the criteria of an ideal tenant:

1. Did the tenant pay rent on time?

2. Did the tenant take care of the property?

3. Did the tenant cause any disturbances?

Before ending the call, determine whether this landlord has any reason to be concerned about the tenant. For instance, you may ask, “Would you be comfortable renting to this tenant again?” or, “Do you know any reason I should avoid renting to this tenant?”

Landlord Tip: Always take steps to confirm that the person you are speaking with is the previous landlord, and not a friend posing as a landlord.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie Hoskins June 26, 2013 at 3:28 am

How can I verify that It’s really the landlord?

Chris June 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Charlie,

Here are some ideas:
Try looking up the landlord’s name and address in a property owners’ directory like a property tax assessor’s list if available, or a reverse phone directory (plug in the address, and see which name comes up),

ask the person to call you back so that you can verify the phone number on Caller ID, or

come up with some questions that only a landlord might know, but would stump an imposter – which landlord associations do they belong to, how long has the property been a rental, how many units are there, for example.

Another helpful tip is to collect previous addresses on your rental application to cross-check against other tenant screening reports, like the credit report.

Hope that helps,

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: