Tenant prior address history, not matching application info?!

18 Replies

I'm renting an apartment in an area where bad credit applications are typical. Got an applicant who presents professionally and has a good income. Was strongly considering the app, but did a complete background check through MyRental.com. This is my first time checking anything but credit. The service provided a previous address history with dates, and is showing 4 addresses in the past 3 yrs that were not listed on the application. (This is in addition to the two addresses that were listed on the application.) Credit report shows some of these same additional addresses.

Any idea if these histories are accurate? Is it possible for them to be coming up because a separated spouse lived? Any suggestions on what to do with this info?

I looked up all 4 addresses, all are small multi-families, like the one I'm renting. I was only able to get a phone number for one, and no one is answering that line.

He is staying at each place for less than one year that is a red flag. He tried hiding that fact it appears by only listing two.... Red flag #2. Not able to get in touch with anyone/bad #'s from previous land lords... Red flag #3.

Unless you are desperate I would keep looking. You could ask him about it. But I don't think he'll be honest if he hasn't thus far. 

You know what they say three strikes you are.... out!

*separated spouse lived there?

@Ryan Dossey

 Thanks! I'm inclined to agree. Glad I'm running this additional check now.

Just want to be sure that this info is accurate, and that it couldn't be due to the addresses of a separated spouse or some other error. 

Anyone have experience with these address histories?

I've come across this, and actually with my newest tenant. She owned a home for 15 years and it went into foreclosure. The address trace showed 4 other addresses which were not on her application. Her license matched her home address. 

When I asked her about it, she said it was an identity theft issue, and that she had never lived anywhere other than her home since 2000. I had her speak with the screening company, and she sent them a copy of her license and a letter reiterating what she told me. 

I also tried to call one of the places that was listed on the address trace, but no luck.

When in doubt, get an extra security deposit or document what they claim is wrong. I put more faith in eviction filings. 

And of course, I hope this doesn't turn out badly!

Actually two of the addresses showing on the report have the same start date, so that doesn't make much sense either. I am going to ask the applicant, just don't know that this will get me any more definite info than I have now.

Thank you Aly NA! I hope I'll be able to find a solution... Already asking a larger deposit (2 months) on this place because we're typically working with ppl with credit issues. I would certainly consider a large rent pre-payment too, that might be a workable solution, though I doubt this particular applicant could come up with it.

Originally posted by @Nancy Larcom :

Actually two of the addresses showing on the report have the same start date, so that doesn't make much sense either. I am going to ask the applicant, just don't know that this will get me any more definite info than I have now.

I think you are doing the right thing. Be cautious and verify. Go to the source, the tenant. There could be a logical reason. Credit reports often have inaccuracies. We check the most recent five years of residency. If I am having difficulty verifying something, I ask the tenant to help me connect with the right person. Then I reach that person by my own means, not only with a telephone number the tenant happens to provide. If I feel confident I have enough information to offer to rent, but can't verify everything, I may ask for additional security deposit to cover my risk.

I had a credit report years ago that had me living in 2 states at the same time ;) And the current apartment number was wrong. It's not easy to get these things straightened out and some people don't bother to.

@Marcia Maynard

Aly NA

 Appreciate the input. Applicant says 3 of the 4 addresses are correct, but the dates are not correct. Making a little progress with verification of timeline.

Originally posted by @Nancy Larcom :

@Marcia Maynard

Aly NA

 Appreciate the input. Applicant says 3 of the 4 addresses are correct, but the dates are not correct. Making a little progress with verification of timeline.

That does not surprise me. On credit reports, dates primarily refer to the date a debt is placed and the date a debt is verified, not the date a person resided at or used the address.

It's possible that they are renting apartments out on Airbnb, which would explain mutliple leases with almost the same start date. 

@Nancy Larcom , how did it go in choosing those tenants? Did the extra security deposit push them away. Or did you just find better qualified applicants? 

So @Nancy Larcom , it's clear that there are at least three distinct addresses in a three year period; so not the most stable of tenants if you are seeking a tenant who will still for a while. 

Trying to contact former landlords to get an idea of tenant character can be challenging. Some fear repercussions so they avoid contact with prospective landlords. Sometimes you have to try knocking on the former landlord's door with the tenant applicant's authorization to release info so the landlord realizes that cooperating might not be so terrible after all. But I have found that landlords of tenants getting a good recommendation don't have anything to fear in the first place ...

If something looks fishy and something smells fishy. It probably is fishy.

If a tenant is lying or the information isn't matching up then move on to another tenant. There are too many people in the world with good credit and trustworthy to get fooled by the bad ones and have to deal with it later.

I denied applicants who weren't truthful or who didn't complete the application completely, after being told it must be completely filled out.  I made an exception for bank account numbers.

One way I found to help verify addresses was to ask to see their license to verify they are who they say they are - and I'd write down the address on their ID.  Next, I required pre-printed personal checks to verify they had a bank account, and I'd make note of the address on the check, too.

In my experience, the credit reports are usually spot-on with regards to prior addresses.  The dates may not be correct, but the addresses will be addresses the person got mail at at some point.

What was often incorrect were the identity verification reports and eviction reports.  You'd have to really look to see if the names were the person you were screening.  9 times out of 10 the "possible matches" were incorrect on those reports.

For me there is no dilemma and it's a complete no brainer. No - and it's because  I am never under pressure to get in a tenant in order to pay the mortgage.

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