A reference from an applicant’s previous landlord is a crucial step to effective tenant screening. But sometimes landlords get into trouble by asking the wrong questions. It’s important to have a plan, in order to avoid discrimination claims or violations of privacy rights when making the call to the previous landlord.
A landlord is not protected from a claim of discrimination simply because the discriminatory information came from the previous landlord. To avoid controversy, stick with questions that tell you what you really need to know– whether this applicant will make a good tenant.
Here are five questions that can help you achieve your goal:
Did the previous tenant pay the rent?
Did they pay it on time?
Did they do a reasonably good job of taking care of the rental property?
Was the unit clean and in good order when this tenant left?
Was this person disruptive towards other tenants or neighbors?
Asking the same questions each time is a reliable way to avoid discrimination, can make the call to a previous landlord go much easier, and will help you develop a clearer picture of whether you want to rent to this individual.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.