Verifying rent history

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Earlier this year, we had a property for lease. I was suspicious of a particular applicant. I called  her rental reference. I asked the reference if she was the owner and asked for the address of the property the tenant said she lived at. The *reference* said she had so many rentals, she wasn't sure. I even threw her a bone and gave the address number, not the street. She still couldn't produce an address. It could be that she really did own that many properties, but my gut was telling me this was a bogus reference. For that and other reasons, I chose not to rent to this person.

But... it got me to thinking about this more. Anyone can put any phone number for a reference. I decided to update the process. I will ask the reference I'm calling the address, reference's name and whether they are the owner. If they say they are, I will look them up on the county tax records to see if in fact they are. 

Any additional thoughts on verifying rental references will be greatly appreciated!


I also check the tax roles to see if that is the actual landlord, and ask them to verify  the address, rent amount etc... a couple of time I also asked for the cancelled checks/ it report with dates from their bank

If they show more than one address, I ask what that is and when they lived there if it isn’t on their application, then I cross reference that too

You usually rely on the previous landlord reference rather than their present landlord. Present landlord may be desperate to unload a tenant and will tell new landlord anything they want to hear.

Your first statement, as soon as they answer, should always be, "hello I am calling about the apartment you have for rent". Their answer should be sorry you have the wrong number or something to do with yes or no regarding the availability of one of their units.

You then identify yourself, your purpose and have them confirm they are familiar with your applicant. You first screen them to determine their level of involvement in their supposed rental business, how many units, self manage etc. You then provide misinformation regarding your applicant in your questions, address, rent rate etc. and see if they correct you.

If they pass your scrutiny you may then get the answers you are seeking. Primarily would they rent to them again.