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Tenant screening can save a lot of time and trouble down the road, but today's tenants often know exactly what will be asked and may have all the right answers ready for you... even if they don't match up to reality. Obviously not every potential tenant is out to trick you into leasing to them, but if they're being dishonest, it's best to know that before you rent to them.
When following up on your applicant's professional references, beware that a 'supervisor' may simply be a coworker that will answer all of your questions with glowing recommendations. If possible, make sure to also reach out to the human resource department so that you can verify the length of time the applicant has worked there and their income. Some applicants may try to have a friend pose as a former landlord if they do not have a stellar rental history. Be careful of this. You can research the local tax records if it's a private owner or do a reverse check on the phone number provided to make sure it belongs to who they say it does.
If an applicant has been renting a property far below the price you are asking for yours, this may be a red flag. Granted, they may have had a big bump in pay, but the bigger it is, the more questionable it is. Even if it's true, it's possible they won't know how to manage that new money.
Change up the questions when following up with prior landlords. There are the usuals, of course, but asking about the tenant's ability to follow the rules and restrictions of the community that he or she has come from can shed some light on how they will react if you lease to them.
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