During these summer months many of us are running a higher volume of applications, but are you sure you are conducting a full screening? When you are screening a prospective tenant it is very 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 can give you more insight into what type of tenant they might be.
Landlord and Employment Verifications are services are a great addition to any screening report. Verification give you first hang knowledge of the type of tenant and employee an individual is. Verifications that are offered through RHAWA’s Tenant Screening Services can be completed within 72 business hours depending on the company and their policies. In order to provide this service we do need a copy of your applicant’s signed rental application. 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?
Some of questions are prohibited, check your local laws for what can be a cause for adverse action.
Always remember that while it is a good idea to verify tenancy with the current housing provider, verifying their tenant history with the previous housing provider is also important. A previous housing provider 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 applicant.
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.
Verifying employment is a good step to take at lease renewal as well. Prior to signing a new lease with an existing tenant, checking to ensure they are still employed and have the income to support another year of tenancy is a great practice.
When verifying tenancy and employment some places will not give you any information unless they have a signed release from the applicant. You can provide them 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.
For more information contact RHAWA screening department at screening@RHAwa.org