Tenant wants copy of Rental Verification from previous landlord

21 Replies

Hello all!

I have a unit I am looking to rent in Cedar Rapids, IA and I had someone apply for the unit. Their credit score and income were borderline out of my requirements but I figured I would still approve them if calls to their previous landlord and current employer went well.

The landlord that I talked to was a local property management company in my area. I talked to them for a few minutes about her and they sent me a filled out Rental Verification form after we were done talking. Basically the form states their name, residency dates, rent amount and describes how they were as a tenant.

The form says that she lived there for 3.5 years, had 15 late payments, significantly damaged the unit (carpet replacement, dry wall repair, blinds and door replacement). The person that I talked to also said that they failed to give notice that they were leaving and did not pay the last months rent (I guess they took her to court and settled with the cosigner). Finally, the form also says that if she reapplied and met their criteria, she would be approved to live with them again...

I sent an adverse action letter to the applicant stating that they were denied in part or in whole by the credit report we received as well as the reference we got from their previous landlord. She emailed me back thanking me for the response, but wants a copy of the form that was sent to me by the previous landlord so that she can submit it to a lawyer. She claims that she has evidence contrary to what they have been telling people and that they are keeping her and her children homeless out of spite.

Should I send her the form? Obviously, if the PM company is spitefully harming her chances of finding a home I want to help her, but I don't know if I am acting in the wrong by sending out information that the PM company gave to me.

Thank you so much for any help!

I would provide her with the contact information for the PM company. Have them send her the form. Tell her as soon as she has this issue resolved that you will be more than happy to continue processing her application, but in the meantime you will continue to show the property to other tenants.

@Jacob Rogers , no, I would not send her a thing.  You could become part of her lawsuit, inadvertently, by ‘helping’.  If she needs to know what was said, she can always go back and ask the PM company.

The less info you give, better off you are in this situation.

I also would not send her anything. Every applicant has a story. I’m guessing hers is just that (a story), and she wasn’t the perfect tenant she claims to be. Either way, you don’t need to get involved in her drama. If it were me, I’d let that adverse action letter be the last communication with her. 

You've fulfilled your obligation with your adverse letter, nothing more is required. I was once on the other side of this where another PM company did release my rental verification to a former tenant and that REIT/management company will never receive another rental verification from me. While I stood behind my rental verification, it's not the proper handling of the situation. If this applicant has proof she was on time every month, let her send you the copies of every check, etc.

You’ve met your legal obligation for the denial letter per law.  That’s where you end the conversation.  

I don’t do follow up with denied tenants. Nothing good will come from it. 

I would move on from this situation and seize any conversations from associated parties. 

Perhaps a more generic denial letter can cure you from any other situations similar to the one you described above.

To your success! 

Originally posted by @Jacob Rogers :

Hello all!

I have a unit I am looking to rent in Cedar Rapids, IA and I had someone apply for the unit. Their credit score and income were borderline out of my requirements but I figured I would still approve them if calls to their previous landlord and current employer went well.

The landlord that I talked to was a local property management company in my area. I talked to them for a few minutes about her and they sent me a filled out Rental Verification form after we were done talking. Basically the form states their name, residency dates, rent amount and describes how they were as a tenant.

The form says that she lived there for 3.5 years, had 15 late payments, significantly damaged the unit (carpet replacement, dry wall repair, blinds and door replacement). The person that I talked to also said that they failed to give notice that they were leaving and did not pay the last months rent (I guess they took her to court and settled with the cosigner). Finally, the form also says that if she reapplied and met their criteria, she would be approved to live with them again...

I sent an adverse action letter to the applicant stating that they were denied in part or in whole by the credit report we received as well as the reference we got from their previous landlord. She emailed me back thanking me for the response, but wants a copy of the form that was sent to me by the previous landlord so that she can submit it to a lawyer. She claims that she has evidence contrary to what they have been telling people and that they are keeping her and her children homeless out of spite.

Should I send her the form? Obviously, if the PM company is spitefully harming her chances of finding a home I want to help her, but I don't know if I am acting in the wrong by sending out information that the PM company gave to me.

Thank you so much for any help!

Your job as a landlord is to fill your units with tenants whom you believe give you the best chance at obtaining the highest ROI. Nothing else. She applied, you denied her. Case is closed. Do not involved yourself further. Whatever went on between her and the other property management company has nothing to do with you or your business.

@Jacob Rogers

Nope nope nope. First, I would not have quoted the prior landlord in my rejection. I would have stated she did not meet the minimum requirements. Or better yet, if you rented to someone else I like to merely state the unit has been rented. But since the cat is out of the bag, I’d wait to be subpoenaed by a court or attorney to supply anything. I “might” give the prior PM a heads up though, because you never know if you’ll be doing business with them in the future. It’s doubtful she hires an attorney. Make sure to keep all communications with her.

People are saying to just stop all communication with her, but I think since you’ve already given her a reason why she was denied, you should provide the follow up.

Act on her side by providing the PM contact and being willing to work with her.

“I’m very sorry about the prior reference. If you could contact the PM company provide the documentation of your payments and the move out condition report, along with a letter from the company, we will be able to continue processing your application.”

Now she can’t say she was “denied” and you are just waiting for her to provide the info so you can keep processing.

I may be wrong but i thought that nobody in a decision making position is allowed to give a bad reference because it may prohibit the applicant from moving forward in life and negativity can defame their character.  Basically, if you have nothing good to say don't say anything and that's enough said.  

Why deny your applicant with details of her rental history or repeat what the other PM told you?  Keep it simple..You want the best tenant possible to protect your investment.  Sorry, but we rented the unit to someone else...Done!  

This tenant is looking to raise hell.  

@Jacob Rogers sounds like I’m also one of the few on here that would email her back. I would say something like it’s not our companies policy to release these documents. If you’d like a copy, you will need to have your attorney reach out to the PM company.

Since you’ve told her that the reference was a negative in her application process you could even say something like, since our policy is to explore prior residency you have to believe that what they say is accurate. In the event that it changes you would gladly run her application again and consider renting to her if you have another vacancy.

Good luck! I hope you dont get sucked into something messy.

If she didn't meet credit report criteria, I would have left it at that and not included the landlord reference material. That is simple because she can easily get a copy of her credit report that you used. Adding any other information was inviting trouble, especially since the PM was good enough to be honest with you - my experience has been that most landlords that are not professional PMs - and most of those, too - will either not respond or lie outright. The fact that you got candor says she must have been a total nightmare. 

In any case, I agree with the above. I would not provide her with a copy of the LL reference form unless subpoenaed by a court. She is more than welcome to petition her former PM for the same information to dispute same. 

@Jacob Rogers that landlord was helping you by responding. Why on earth would you even consider for a second, giving that to the applicant? And why did you even implicate the property management company in the denial? It was completely unnecessary and now you are just creating problems for people who are trying to help you. It is crap like this that causes landlords to not want to give references.

The real problem here is you don't have acceptance criteria. You say she was "borderline out" on income and credit. Well if you had standards, then she is either above or below. 

My suggestion to the applicant is for her to nicely talk to her old landlord. If she plans to use them as a reference, she needs to fix this. Contacting an attorney is not how fix a problem like this. You dodged a bullet with this applicant and you can 100% thank the old landlord.


All,

To reiterate their problems are not your problems. Just do your jobs and move on. Nothing more, nothing less.