As a property manager, one application process you are in charge of is checking references for previous landlords. Checking these references is one task you never want to skip because references tell you vital information about your prospective tenant that may not show up on the background or credit check. If previous landlords didn’t report to the credit bureau or sue the tenant, you might not ever know if they paid rent on time or if they damaged the property. Many tenants who have had problems with landlords or a property manager in the past will ask their friends or family to provide false references, pretending to be a previous landlord. You can easily spot these fakers by following these tips:
- Don’t tell them who you are. If you call asking for Joe Smith and they ask who you are, don’t say that you’re a property manager calling about a reference. You want to catch the imposter off guard by pretending to be a renter yourself. Inquire about available homes for rent, and if the landlord begins to humble over their words or suddenly hangs up, you know you’ve got a false reference.
- When you ask questions about the tenant, the landlord should be able to give you details about that person including how long they lived at the address provided if they paid on time, and other details. If the “landlord” is vague or tells you, they can’t remember, these can be red flags for false references.
- Search for the “landlord” online. If this person is a legitimate landlord, you should be able to find their name and phone number linked to rental properties or a property management company. You can also search the name on social media and see if they seem to be linked to the tenant such as being Facebook friends or listing each other as family. These are huge red flags for false references.
Taking the time to go through dozens of references every time you have a new property for rent can be tedious and exhausting. Consider hiring a property manager from Scott Properties to help you manage your rental home efficiently and with great return on investment.