Landlord Questions to Ask Employers
Part of the tenant screening process is to speak with a prospect's employer. It is more than just a verification reference to find out employment status and salary. Landlords can ask several questions of a prospect's employer to determine if that individual's background is able to meet the standards required to become a tenant. The key to a successful reference experience is to have prospects sign a release of information. This will allow employers to release personal information to you that they may not be able to do otherwise.
Question #1: What Is The Individual's Income?
It is easy to inflate salary numbers of a rental application. The employer is going to have the hard figures on that person's salary. You won't gain access to pay stubs in most instances, but you'll get a solid hourly, monthly, or annual salary figure. This allows you to compare their income to their debt on their credit report to let you know if they'll have enough money to pay on time.
Question #2: How Long Has The Individual Been Employed?
Having a high salary can be a good thing, but it isn't as good when the prospect has only been working there for 2 weeks. A common tactic is to emphasize the new salary levels at a new job while drawing attention away from a previous work history. If a prospect's average time with an employer is just 3 months, there's a good chance that the high paying job is only going to stick around for about 10 more weeks before greener pastures are sought. That's a definite red flag.
Question #3: Is The Individual Actually Employed?
It is easy enough to make up a company, provide a false phone number, and claim that they were employed. Sometimes tenants will even hand out the contact information for their friends so it appears that a good employment history has been established and able to be verified. See if the company is real, look for corroboration from the prospect's credit report, and use the primary number listed for the employer that you find online instead of from your application. That can help you avoid the common tricks prospects pull today. These landlord questions to ask employers may be basic, but they help to provide extra information during the screening process. Some employers are very forthcoming with information. Others may not even respond to your questions. Keep it to these three key questions and you'll be able to avoid any legal headaches by receiving information you may not be privileged to receive.
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