Experience as a landlord and property manager has made me both a shrewd and suspicious business operator. Prior to getting into the business, I trusted everyone and considered their word to be their bond.
If you want to be a good property manager, you too will need to drop some of your innocence. Honestly, some individuals have become experts at lying, scheming and manipulating. As a landlord you’ll need to learn how to shovel through the manure pile to expose the truth.
One common trick potential tenants use is to have a family member or friend pose as a present/former landlord or employer. Here are some things you can do to avoid becoming prey to this scheme:
For employment references and rental complexes you can start by verifying the phone number. Look up the business phone number to see if it matches that which the tenant put on the application. If there is not a match, call the publicly listed phone number to see if you can reach the person the tenant listed as a reference. If your tenant rented a single family home, check public records to see who is the owner of that property. Does the name of the landlord on the application match that which is on record with the municipality? Call from a phone number other than your own.
Caller id can be used to alert the fraudulent landlord or employer that it is you calling. Have a friend call beforehand to ask if there are any job openings or rental homes available. If they seem dumbfounded or confused, your prospective tenant likely lied on the application. With employment references, do your homework on the organization. Before asking questions about the applicant, express interest in the corporation. Ask what type of product they manufacture? How many employees do they have on staff? How long have they been in business? This will help you to determine whether the person you are speaking with is legit.
This may seem extreme, but a good tenant screening can save you both money and headaches. Lastly, reference checking should be done in addition to, not in lieu of running both a criminal and credit history.