What Landlords Need To Ask During Reference Checks

This contributed post is for informational purposes only. Please consult a business, financial and legal professional before making any decisions. We may earn money or products from the affiliate links in this post.

What Landlords Need To Ask During Reference Checks

By requiring your rental applicants provide you with multiple professional references, it becomes much easier to get an understanding of how the applicant will treat your property. However, this only works if you follow through and ask the right questions. To help you pick the right tenant, here are a few critical questions that landlords need to ask during a reference check.

What To Ask Past or Current Landlords

Past or current landlords can give you a better idea of how the tenant will treat your rental property, how responsible they are, and other behavioral patterns. However, contacting a current landlord can be risky, as they might give you deceivingly great information to get rid of a bad tenant. This means it is critical for you to contact all listed references, along with asking all landlords the following questions:

  • Did the tenant pay their rent on time and in full?
  • How long was the tenancy?
  • Why did they leave?
  • How did the tenant maintain the property?
  • Would you rent to them again?

What To Ask Past or Current Employers

One of the most common tenant screening mistakes that landlords make, especially when analyzing their financial resources, is relying on the applicant’s credit report for proof of income. On the other hand, contacting past or current employers helps you verify their employment history, salary, and if they can afford the property overall. It also helps you get a better picture of their personality, sense of responsibility, and how they get along with others. However, you should be wary of fake employers, so you should contact the business’s HR department to confirm the information. Then, if you want to get the full story, here’s what you need to ask:

  • What is their current salary or hourly rate?
  • If they work hourly, how many hours per week do they work?
  • Why were they let go or why did they leave?
  • Would you hire this person again or will you continue their employment?
  • Have they been reprimanded at work or gotten into any trouble?

What To Ask Personal References

Sometimes, an applicant may not have an extensive employment or rental history, which is often the case with younger applicants. In these cases, an applicant may provide you with personal references, such as from friends, family, university housing representatives, volunteer program managers, and so on. While, of course, these references can be biased, that doesn’t mean you can’t get good information about the tenant’s lifestyle and character. Here are a few questions you can ask to get a better idea of who the applicant is as a person:

  • How do you know the tenant, and how long have you known them?
  • How would you describe their overall personality or character?
  • What do they like to do in their spare time?
  • Do they smoke or have any pets?
  • If you were a landlord, would you rent your property to them?

These are just a few of the questions landlords should ask during a reference check. However, all of them will help put you on the right track to choosing the best tenants for your property.