5 Tips for screening Renters from Previous Landlords

Screening a renter from a previous Landlord is very important, Here are 5 Tips that could help you with new renters.

Whether it’s for a job or a rental property, collecting a previous landlord reference from applicants is a critical step. When landlords have a vacant rental unit available they are eager to collect applications from prospective tenants hoping that the information will help them make a good decision about their next renter.

Smart landlords perform tenant screening on all qualified applicants and often this includes contacting previous landlords for references. The idea is to question the previous landlord and see what their relationship was like with the applicant.

Having such a valuable resource on the other end of the phone is a rare opportunity to get an honest look at the applicant’s rental history. A previous landlord’s insights can really shine the spotlight on how the applicant might be as a tenant. When it comes to tenant screening, landlords should not waste the opportunity to check in with previous landlords.

There are 5 very important questions that current landlords should be sure to ask an applicant’s previous landlord:

  1. When did the tenant’s lease begin and end?

This gives landlords a general timeline of how long the previous landlord interacted with the applicant and how recent the information is. Ideally, landlords want a previous landlord reference based on a relatively recent time frame to get the most current information. While any previous landlord reference can help a landlord make a decision, the most recent information is better.

  1. What amount of rent did the tenant pay?

Asking this question helps landlords compare and contrast whether the tenant would be comfortable with the amount of rent currently being asked for in the new place. If there is a big discrepancy, landlords should take extra precautions to confirm that the tenant’s income can cover it.

  1. Did the tenant pay their rent on time, and if not, how many times were they late?

Of course, this answer is a big clue into the most important part of screening a tenant. Landlords can learn a lot from a previous tenant’s records on paying rent, and get a good idea from the previous landlord about how common such incidents actually were. Punctuality with past rent payments is an excellent way to gauge how payments will be timed in the future.

  1. How well did the tenant care for the rental property?

A previous landlord will be all too happy to share stories about any problems encountered with the care and treatment of their rental property. Respecting the property is a big deal to all landlords, and if there were a lot of issues with the tenant about the condition of the rental property after the tenancy, it is valuable information and can help a landlord make a decision on an applicant.

  1. Would the landlord rent to the tenant again?

This is the most important question that a landlord can ask a previous landlord, because it takes the sum of all the interactions, rent payment process, interactions and more and puts it into a single word. If the previous landlord says that they would, it means that the tenant was positive and profitable enough to be considered again. If the previous landlord would not rent to the tenant again, it signals that renting to that tenant is not a good financial decision in the long run.

Credits for article: rentprep.com

Author Credits: Stephen Michael White