Tips on Giving Tenant References

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on July 29, 2011 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

little-houseLandlords are often asked to give references on their former tenants to other landlords. And if you’re a landlord, you’ve probably asked for plenty of tenant references of your fellow landlords. It’s an important part of screening tenants before you sign a lease.

You may be surprised that a tenant who has paid rent late or caused damage would ask you to provide a reference, but it happens all the time.

Here are a few tips for when you’ve been asked to provide a reference for a tenant you don’t particularly want to recommend to another landlord.

  • Some landlords are completely straightforward with their fellow landlords, telling them honestly about all the tenant’s bad and good habits.
  • Other landlords offer only answers to specific questions. If a particular topic isn’t brought up, they are not going to the one to do it.
  • Still others will only say whether or not they would rent to the tenant again.
  • Keep it professional: Keep your personal opinions out of the conversation. Offer only facts, and let the new landlord decide whether or not he or she will rent to your soon-to-be ex-tenant.
  • Consider asking tenants to sign a release that authorizes you to share information with a new landlord. Let the tenant know that you will only offer information that can be backed up by documentation.
  • In some areas, you might be subject to lawsuits for releasing negative information. If you need to know for sure where to draw the line, consult an attorney before you say anything.
  • That said, you can most likely avoid trouble by being honest, providing only facts and no opinions, and knowing you can back up the facts with documentation.

For many landlords, just sticking to the “Would you rent to this person again?” question is the best way to go.

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