Tenant screening process

7 Replies

Dear BP community,

I am trying to research a previous landlord for my potential tenant.

I know the landlord's address, first and last name.

How can I find out her phone number in Philadelphia, PA?

thank you all in advance!

Just from my experience and opinion, first, you can try asking the potential tenant for the previous landlord's contact info, most likely they should have it if it's recent. If it's a management company, you can try finding the company's contact info online. Lastly, you can try looking up in the phone book. If the tenant still has a copy of their lease, more than likely, it should be on there as well.

In this case I send a form letter to the address.  If the landlord had a really bad experience with them they will contact you, hopefully before move in.  You can make any offer of tenancy contingent on no prior landlords coming forward.

We should do our due diligence and try, but we aware that it is unusual to actually connect with very many prior landlords.

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I'd recommend Whitepages.com if you already have the address. Also try typing their name into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc and sending them a direct message instead. If that doesn't work, Google their name and the city/town that they live in. You might find an article or an ad with their contact info. You can also type the tenant's old address into Craigslist. If their landlord posted the vacancy, you'll get their phone, email or both. 

That is information the potential tenant should provide on your application.  Or at least a reference letter from this landlord.  If they didn't, this is a red flag.

Your applicant is responsible for providing all required information. If it is not provided by the applicant you simply pass on the applicant.

If a applicant is not motivated to do the work to apply they the landlord should have no motivation to do the work for them. Return the application and ask they provide all required information.

Lazy applicants get rejected.

@Eli M. it is very strange if the tenant doesn't have their phone number, which leads me to believe it may be a bad reference. You could mail a reference request to them, but that seems like a lot of trouble unless the tenant is otherwise an excellent candidate. You could tell them you can't process the application without the phone number. Make them find it if they want to rent from you.

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