How to spot False Landlord References!
When finding tenants for your rental property, a common issue faced is potential renters giving false landlord references. Here are some ways you can avoid this issue and ensure your prospects are trusted individuals:
#1 Social Media
A great and easy first step is investigation of social media. Look through your prospect’s Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages to see if the prospect and the landlord reference, are ever mentioned together or connected on any media pages. Look to see if they are tagged in any posts or photos together and try and draw a conclusion about what the relationship really is.
#2 The Phone Call
When you call the reference, be aware of the tone used in the conversation. Remember, this person essentially had at one time, the same task you are completing now. How would you respond to your own questions? Consider how specific the person is being. This will give you a better idea of the relationship between the landlord and the applicant, either personal or professional. If the landlord doesn’t know very basic things (such as if their tenant was a hard on the property or if the police was ever summoned to the rental) this is a red flag and should be explored more.
#3 Get Verifying Details
If you’re still unsure of the legitimacy of the reference, you can ask some verifying details that only a landlord should know. Some examples of this might be:
- What were the move in and move out dates?
- What was the address of the property they are moving out of? What type of home was the property? Shared property? Single family dwelling? Privately owned Condo?
- What was the rent amount? How did they pay? Cash? Postdated cheques? E-transfer? Make sure the landlords answer mirrors the tenant’s application.
- How well behaved was the (cat / dog) dog in the rental? This is a leading question and can be asked to find out the validity of the applicant. Based on their answer you may be solving two issues with one question; the potential tenants actually have a pet and their “landlord” is a friend.
It’s up to you how much or how little you want to inquire about the tenant, but one thing to keep in mind is be prepared the phony landlord may have this information on hand for such an occasion. Specific questions will help uncover an untruthful reference.
#4 Call for an Inquiry
If you’re still having trouble determining if they are a real landlord, you can try calling and inquiring about a property for yourself, even if it is not currently up for rent! False landlords will likely not have an answer, hang up or try and come up with something on the spot. This is a very good method of weeding out deceptive people posing as landlords.
Finding qualified tenants can be a daunting experience, but it does not have to be a negative one. It is simply a matter of ensuring you are protecting your investment. Fending off false landlord references is something that should be a part of your applicant approval process.
It generally just takes a few moments of consideration followed by some digging to ensure they are in fact the applicant’s previous landlord
Use these quick tips to help in the approval process. A few awkward questions at the onset of the approval process easily trumps a bad tenant experience.
Image by Morning Brew shared on unsplash.
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