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The previous landlord reference (and other letters of recommendation)

April 17th, 2012 · No Comments · tenant screening


Screening: The Letter of recommendation from previous or current landlord

When calling a previous landlord, there are several questions you can ask to help you get more information on the tenant.  Some landlords will answer questions over the phone, and some will require a fax and a signed release of information from the tenant.

Questions to Ask

  • Were there any other people on the tenant’s lease?
  • What was their address? (They should know this relatively quickly, or they could be a bad reference)
  • Was their rent $xxx? (Give an amount other than the correct amount and see if they correct you – otherwise this may be a bad reference!)
  • Is their rent current?
  • Are they being evicted / have they been evicted? (If rent is not current, this may be why they are looking for a new place!)
  • Did they have any pets?
  • Were there any complaints from other tenants?
  • Did they cause any major maintenance issues?
  • Would you rent to this tenant again?
Be Careful and Make Sure you Verify Who You are Communicating With!
Current or previous landlords are often faked.  Here is a post from the Ontario Landlords Association website where a tenant asked what to do when new landlords were asking for landlord references, and they had just broken the lease:
In case you havent figured out – most tenants put on a cell number of a friend for the reference, then claim that person was the landlord for either your present place, or a previous place. Same for work reference for tenant applications.  Think about it for a second – most places you rent are private residential properties.   The owners aren’t too thorough!    I trust you know what do, something that is already done by probably 70% of the other applicants!

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