How to Verify Tenant References

May 18th, 2017
How to Verify Tenant References

Like a good agent, you make sure all of your applicants undergo a comprehensive tenant verification process. While we have covered the importance of screening reports in the past, another factor that is paramount in verifying your tenants is contacting the references listed on their online rental applications.

Most online rental applications will list a personal and professional reference along with contact information to their current/previous landlords and job supervisors. These are valuable sources of information regarding your applicant, and they can tell you things that your tenant verification reports can’t.

tenant verification

But how do you know that the references listed on an online rental application are indeed who they are? Here are some ways to easily verify your applicants’ references.


tenant verification

Image via Tim Patterson, used under CC License 2.0

In addition to obtaining pay stubs and employment verification documents, calling an employer is another great way to verify your tenant’s employment. In order to see if the person you call is truly your applicant’s supervisor, do a quick Google search and see what comes up.

In addition, you can check out your applicant’s company based on the pay stubs they provided, and see if the reference they listed on their online rental application is on the website. You can also check LinkedIn as well.

Another way you can get in contact with the reference for certain is by calling the company’s number instead of the one listed on the online rental application and asking for the reference by name. That way you can get in contact directly from the company instead of the applicant.

Landlords and Property Managers

online rental application

Just as you use a strict tenant verification system, it is necessary to verify landlords and property managers as well. It’s pretty easy to have a friend pretend to be a previous landlord. You’d be surprised at what some people do to get a roof over their heads.

Like an employer, you can Google a property management company to directly get in contact with the reference your applicant has listed. Call the company directly and see if the property manager your applicant listed works there. If they do not, you should be very suspicious of your applicant.

As for landlords, they can be a bit trickier than property managers. Because they tend to be independent, it is difficult to track down a landlord online. Instead, you have to do a bit more research to verify a landlord reference.

Looking up property records for the owner of his previous property is a good way to get landlord information. If the landlord listed on the online rental application isn’t the person that owns the property, don’t worry just yet.

It could be a new owner or the property owner data you found could be outdated. Call the listed landlord reference and ask if they know the owner on the record. Chances are, they will have some sort of idea of the person they bought their property from or sold it to.

You can also ask some questions only a landlord would know. Preface the question by letting them know that you’re asking just to make sure that they’re an actual landlord.

Questions like what type of licenses they needed to obtain to become a landlord (which varies depending on what city they are in), or what inspections were necessary to make the property rentable (again, varies from city to city). A good landlord should answer these questions with ease.

Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.