Checking References for Successful Tenant Screening
When you are screening a prospective tenant, it is important to remember that in addition to checking their credit and background records, you should also verify tenancy and employment. These references will help you look past the credit score and give you more insight into what type of tenant they might be. Landlord and Employment Verification are services that are offered through RHAWA’s Tenant Screening Services. In order to provide this service, we do need a copy of your applicant’s signed rental application. Results of these services may not be immediate as we may not be able to get a hold of the reference contact on the first try.
Some property owners/managers may feel that this is something they would prefer to do on their own but just don’t know what questions to ask. Here are some examples of questions that we ask when verifying tenancy:
• Did this person make timely rent payments?
• Did they maintain the residence?
• Have you ever begun eviction proceedings against this household?
• Would you rent to this person again?
Always remember that while it is a good idea to verify tenancy with the current landlord, verifying their tenant history with the previous landlord is also important. A previous landlord may be a little more forthcoming about what kind of a tenant your applicant is because they are not worried about losing or getting rid of that person as they are no longer in a contract with this person.
When verifying an applicant’s employment the most important information that you want to verify is how long they have been employed with the place of business and what their income is. Oftentimes a company will verify whether or not a person works at their place of business but will not give you any further information. In this case you might ask to see some of your applicant’s most recent paycheck stubs and perhaps a letter of recommendation.
Some businesses will not give you any information unless they have a signed release from the applicant when verifying tenancy and employment. You can provide the business with a copy of the signed rental application. RHAWA’s rental applications are worded so that when an applicant signs the completed document they are authorizing you to check these types of references in addition to credit and background.