Monday, December 19, 2005


Tenant references

Speaking of tenant verification, it is important to remember you can't bad mouth previous tenants. A landlord can get in a lot of legal trouble for defamation. I think many landlord's dream of the chance to get back at a previous tenant who caused problems or still owes money. Truthfully you may never get the chance. A savvy tenant would not use you as a reference. However, I had an old tenant who still owed me money and used me as reference once. I even told him I though it was a bad idea, that there was not much I could say about him that was positive. I guess he was in denial. I was honest on the verification and I only answered the question I was asked and without any embellishment. He, of course, did not get the new apartment and was mad about it. The important thing was that I kept to the facts. If you are in the lucky situation where you get to give a reference for a tenant that treated you poorly it is important that you only answer the questions you are given with factual and precise information. Do not embellishment or give sweeping statements like "they always paid late". Go through your records and give the exact number of late payments. I recommend giving all references in writing if you can.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005



I can't say this enough. I know we all want to believe that we can sense who are the good people and we want to trust our instincts, but people make careers out of taking advantage. You have your prospective tenants fill out an application and then you do nothing with the information! It is important to verify all the information you ask for. Always call previous landlords and check job references. I am always surprised when a prospective tenant gives me a bad reference. I can only guess that they think I will not call. I recommend that you ask very specific questions. Have they ever paid late? Do they owe any money? Are there any lease violations or noise disturbances?
You need to accept that you will still make a mistake or a good tenant will fall on hard times. It happens to every landlord sooner or later. Checking all the references you have and running credit if you can will help you avoid many bad tenants.

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