Landlord references are a great way to follow up and get further information on applicants that have made it through the first couple layers of your screening processes. You've found someone that is interested in the property, has filled out an application, paid to have a screening run, and the screening checks out. Great! Next you'll want to follow up with prior landlords. It's a good practice to go back two or three prior landlords to get the most accurate information about the applicant. Their current landlord may not be willing to provide detailed and honest information as the person is still living in their property.
You'll want to make sure that the contact information that the applicant provides you for their prior landlords is accurate and current. Some applicants will try to hide what would turn into a bad landlord reference by providing false numbers for potential landlords to call. Follow up on these to see if you are speaking to a property management company or if the owner is listed in public records as the owner.
As a landlord, you may be required to write a reference for a tenant on their way out. You'll want to keep excellent records along the way so that you may look back on these when the time comes. You'll want to be able to back up what you're saying to keep yourself safe from accusations should the reference cost the tenant their next rental.
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