The Importance of Reference Checks During Tenant Screening

tenantriskverification October 30, 2012 0

by Sarah Gabot


You know what you’re supposed to do after you receive a prospective renter’s application for your rental property: perform a thorough and consistent tenant screening. Some of you may be rolling your eyes or feel that you have good enough judgment to weed out bad tenants.

Unless you want to risk being accused of discrimination, it’s best to use a systematic tenant screening process that includes a reference check.

Still not convinced? A recent survey we conducted revealed that renters may not be as honest as we’d like them to be.

Not everyone is being honest

We asked renters, “Have you been dishonest on a rental application before?” Ten percent of renters told us “Yes.”

Think about it: This means that out of 100 applications,10 of them could potentially be inaccurate and dishonest.

It’s because they don’t think you notice

Additionally, we asked renters if they thought that rental professionals thoroughly check rental applications. A whopping 36 percent of renters said they didn’t think so. If renters don’t think that you’re checking their application, this could give dishonest renters more reason to lie.

Use reference checks to fact-check your applicants. While most renters are honest on their applications, you’ll never know when you receive one that stretches the truth.

What happens if you don’t check

It’s harder to get a tenant out of your property after a lease is signed. If you learn the hard way that an applicant was dishonest (that is, you learn too late), you’re likely to be stuck with a bad tenant. This could mean the tenant is messy, loud, disrespectful, doesn’t pay rent, etc. It’ll be a bigger pain to deal with a difficult tenant or to enter the eviction process than to do a proper tenant screening.

One great way to confirm the accuracy of an application is through a reference check. Talk to current and previous employers to confirm salaries. Call up the current and previous landlord to make sure the applicant was a good tenant. These phone calls, which will only take a few minutes out of your day, will help you make a more educated decision on whether this tenant is a good fit for your property.

This article was written by Sarah Gabot   and originally published on zillow

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