Rental history should play a large role in the way you screen your potential tenants. A lot of the landlords we talk to will do a credit check and maybe verify income. Then, they’ll stop.
This is a mistake. Talking to current and former landlords can provide some great insight into how your prospective tenant is likely to perform. If you’re not sure how to get started verifying tenant rental history, we have some suggestions and best practices based on our own screening process.
Rental Applications Should Gather Contact Information
Before you can verify a tenant’s rental history, you have to collect the pertinent information.
That’s where a rental application can help.
Every adult 18 years of age and older must be required to complete an application. On that application, collect all the basic information about where they work and what they earn. Ask for a current address and former addresses to cover at least the last 10 years.
You’ll need to collect contact information for landlords, property managers, or apartment managers, depending on where they’ve lived previously. Your application should ask for the dates that they lived in each home and how much rent they paid. Get phone numbers and email addresses of owners and/or landlords.
Don’t forget to collect a signature from the applicant, granting you permission to conduct a background check and contact references.
Conduct a Nationwide Eviction Search
Are you willing to rent to tenants who have been evicted previously? This is part of verifying your tenant’s rental history. You need to know if they’ve ever been evicted from a home. Check local and national eviction databases.
Sometimes, evictions do not mean you need to deny the tenant (unless this is a consistent part of your standard qualifying criteria). For example, if you find an eviction from 15 years ago and the tenant has established a solid rental history with good references over the last 10 years, you might want to give that applicant a chance. A tenant who has been evicted three times in the last five years, however, is probably not a great risk. Set some standards for what you’ll accept and what you won’t.
Advantages of Landlord Reference Checks
You’re looking for a tenant with a positive rental history. They’ll have former landlords who remain willing to rent to those residents again.
We recommend that you get in touch with at least two landlords who rented a home to the tenant you’re considering. Always confirm you’re talking to the actual property owner or the property manager. If a tenant had a bad experience with a landlord, they’ll want to prevent any contact.
Once you’re in touch with the landlord reference, ask:
- Was rent paid on time?
- If rent was late, how quickly did the tenant catch up? Did notices need to be filed?
- Was the home left in good condition? Was the entire security deposit refunded?
- Were there any lease violations noticed?
- Did the tenant provide enough notice before leaving?
These reference checks can be time consuming, but it’s worth that time to verify your prospective tenant’s rental history. If you need help, please contact us at Trend Property & Management. We’re here to help with all your Fort Worth property management needs. We also serve Keller, Saginaw, Hurst, Weatherford, and the surrounding areas.