References Prospective Tenants Should Be Asked To Provide

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on August 23, 2006 under Tenant Credit Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

For a landlord, it is most important to screen and vet all rental applicants thoroughly, before allowing them to move into his / her rental property. Tenant screening is an excellent way to weed out possible problem tenants even before they have a chance to become a problem headache for you.

There are a number of different reference types, a landlord should request all rental applicants to provide. The type of references a landlord asks for is entirely up to him / her, but the following reference guidelines should prove helpful in assisting a landlord to find a suitable tenant for his / her property.

  1. Previous Employers: A rental applicant should be asked to provide at least three references from past employers, specifically, if he / she skipped jobs, working for more than three employers in a given year. If a rental applicant has been through a series of jobs, all within a short span of time, it could be warning sign that he / she is unsuitable and won’t suit as the perfect tenant.You should ask rental applicants to provide addresses, contact information, former employer’s name and the person to be contacted. Applicants should also be asked to provide employment dates, including an explanation why they are no longer employed with their past employer.
  2. Previous Rental History: Ask rental applicants to provide current addresses and phone numbers of past landlords to enable you to complete your follow-up efficiently. You could uncover tenant disputes with past landlords or any other problematic events in an applicant’s rental history.However, it is doubtful rental applicants will disclose contact information about their current landlord. If they are breaching their lease, planning to move out without informing their present landlord, they will not wish to provide you with this information.
  3. Character References: Most rental application forms ask for three character references. These could be from former employers, friends or people your applicant feels comfortable listing. Character references give one pretty good idea of the kind of person one is dealing with.What you must remember though is applicants rarely provide references that do not portray them in a positive light. This issue can be overcome by asking for different types of references e.g. co-workers or supervisors, including friends and family members.
  4. Emergency Contact Information: This bit of information is extremely important and comes in handy, in the event a tenant leaves without paying rent. With an emergency contact on record, you can call them for information on tracking down the absconding tenant.But, getting this information is just the first step, if you do not check it out; the information will not be worth the paper it is written on. In case, you cannot do all the necessary legwork, why hire a professional service with experience in performing reference and background checks. References though important, are just one aspect of a rental applicant’s history and should not be relied on solely. Run a credit or background check for a comprehensive applicant profile, using this information to base your final decision on.

Selecting the right tenant for your property will not only reassure you that your property is in good hands, you will also ensure tenants remain with you for many years to come. Further, getting relevant information on rental application forms assists you in screening prospective tenants, tenants who will respect, maintain and limit property damage to only wear and tear. For help in suitable tenant selection, visit for tenant screening and background check services, the best and only way to prevent expensive litigation, penalty charges or property damage.

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