I'm wondering if most Property Managers call the previous landlord(s) for tenant reference? As a independent landlord I have always found this to be immensely helpful in finding a quality tenant. It doesn't sound like this is normal practice for the mgmt company I started using in Gainesville and I'm wondering what is considered "normal". It seems they go off of credit and background check alone.
Hey @Glenn Primack ,
I have found that most property management companies do not have the time to call for references on individual applicants. Some of the more detailed ones will, but I wouldn't say it's common. Most of them are just going off of basic verification of info, background and credit checks.
I would call around to other management companies in your area and interview them. Ask what their tenant screening process includes.
When I am screening for tenants I always ask for at least two previous landlord references and I call them both. If they are a first time renter I require a cosigner or a double deposit.
In my experience larger property management companies know the drill but smaller mom and pop landlords do not.
I wouldn't worry about what is considered normal. Tenant is screening is the most important aspect that you need to get right if you want to be a successful landlord. It's your first line of difference to protect your ASSets.
@Glenn Primack absolutely! We call employer and previous landlords!
Even when I wasn't doing property management, I would get the lease agent to call employer and previous landlord.
I agree with @Ralph Justiz - most smaller companies don't. But it's also in what the owner is asking for. Some owners operate with a "don't ask, don't tell" mentality.
I would take a few minutes to ask yourself what YOU think is the best way to screen your tenants. Then interview a handful of Property Managers and compare. If they don't do it normally, and you like them, ask them if they will.
Here's what we do for your reference:
- Employer & Income Verification via paystubs (or tax returns) and phone call.
- Landlord verification via call
- Credit and background check
- Pictures of all pets
- Copy of drivers license
- No evictions or broken lease
That usually weens out the bad apples.
Best of luck!
In addition to credit screening and background check I highly advise "rental verification form." The rental verification form is to be emailed or faxed over, along with the applicants authorization, to the past/current landlord. Also, the rental verification form should only ask fact based questions like (1) Any late payments (2) if so how many late payments (3) condition of the home upon move out, etc...This is something that should be done in writing and not over the phone.