The rental verification process is done when a landlord or a property manager contacts a prospective tenant’s previous landlord or property manager to confirm the rental history listed on their rental application. Rental verification plays a vital role in protecting the landlord’s property. It assesses the tenant’s responsibility and the likelihood of taking good care of the property. In this article, we will be talking about what is rental verification and how to verify a tenant’s rental history.
What Is a Rental Verification?
Rental verification is a property manager or landlord’s process to confirm details about an applicant’s previous rental history. A rental verification usually contains information regarding the applicant’s past payment history, fulfillment of all lease terms, property damages or lease violations, and eligibility for re-rental from the previous landlord.
Properly verifying a rental applicant’s background gives the landlord insight into whether the individual will be a reliable tenant. Running a verification before approving a new renter helps avoid potentially costly issues.
Benefits of Conducting Rental Verification for Landlords
The rental verification process involves gathering information about a tenant’s previous rental experiences, including payment history, lease agreements, eviction records, and overall reliability as a tenant. By verifying tenants’ rental history, landlords can minimize the risk of renting to potentially problematic tenants and ensure a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship. Here are some benefits of conducting proper rental verification for any landlord:
- Rental verification allows landlords to make informed decisions when selecting tenants. Landlords can assess the tenant’s past rental history, adherence to lease agreements, and overall reliability.
- Verifying an applicant’s rental history helps in mitigating potential risks associated with problematic tenants.
- Rental verification plays a vital role in protecting the landlord’s property. By assessing the rental history, landlords can gauge the tenant’s level of responsibility and determine if they are likely to take good care of the property.
Why Does Rental History Verification Matter?
Rental history verification matters since it helps to confirm if the information provided by the tenant on the rental application form is accurate or not. If any information doesn’t match the rental history report, then you need to address the case very carefully.
A tenant’s rental history report is a great resource that answers important questions regarding the tenant’s behaviors, payment history, how they treated other tenants and landlords in the past, and how they escalated repair/maintenance issues. With this information and screening reports, you as a landlord can determine if the tenant is fit for your rental property or not.
How to Verify a Prospective Tenant’s Rental History? Step-By-Step Process
Verifying rental history is one of the most important components of the application screening process. It provides insight into how an applicant has behaved as a tenant in the past. There are mainly two ways to perform a prospective tenant’s rental verification. You can either contact the tenant’s landlord references directly or you can use property management software platforms to automatically do it for you. Here is the step-by-step rental verification process while protecting your investment property:
- Application Form: Request all potential tenants to fill up a rental application form. This form should include sections like income details, employment history, personal information, and references from previous landlords. Make sure you notify the tenants to provide comprehensive and accurate information.
- Contact References: Once the prospective tenants complete the application form, make sure that you contact the references provided. Reach out to the previous landlords to verify the accuracy of the information, also inquire about the tenant’s payment history and overall tenancy experience. Landlord’s reference is very crucial information to assess the tenant’s reliability and responsibility.
- Employment Verification: Confirm the potential tenant’s employment status and income stability. Request relevant documentation such as employment letters, pay stubs, or bank statements to validate their financial capability to meet rental obligations.
- Credit Check: Conducting a credit check provides valuable insights into a potential tenant’s financial responsibility. The credit check helps to determine whether they have a history of paying their bills and debts on time. There are many credit reporting agencies that offer tenant screening services that allow landlords to access credit reports and evaluate tenants’ creditworthiness.
- Eviction Records Search: Eviction records help to identify tenants who have been previously evicted or involved in legal disputes with landlords. You can use online databases or screening services to search for any eviction history associated with the prospective tenant.
- Personal Interview: Arrange a face-to-face or phone interview with the prospective tenant to check their communication skills, professionalism, and overall attitude. It helps the landlord with additional insights into their suitability as a tenant.
- Security Deposit: Request a security deposit from the tenant which is financial protection for the landlord. The security deposit helps the landlord cover potential damages to the property or any unpaid rent in case of default.
Questions to Ask in a Rental Verification Form
When drafting a rental verification form, it’s important to include relevant questions that will help you get comprehensive information on a potential tenant’s rental history. Here are some essential questions to ask in a rental verification form:
Tenant Basic Information:
- Full Name
- Current contact information (phone number, email address)
- Current address
Previous Rental History:
- Previous addresses (with dates of tenancy)
- Reason for leaving each previous rental
- Names and contact information of previous landlords or property managers
Rent Payment History:
- Did the tenant consistently pay rent on time?
- Were they are instances of late/missed payments?
- Were there any rent payment disputes/issues?
- Did the tenant comply with the terms and conditions of the lease agreement?
- Were there any lease violations or breaches?
- Did the tenant maintain the property in good condition?
- Were there any instances of property damage due to tenant negligence?
- Did the tenant report maintenance issues promptly?
Communication and Behaviour:
- Was the tenant responsive to communication with the landlord or the property manager?
- Did the tenant demonstrate respectful and considerate behavior towards neighbors or other residents?
- Were there any complaints or issues related to noise, disturbance, or improper behavior?
- Has the tenant ever been evicted before?
- Were there any legal disputes or court actions related to the tenant’s previous rentals?
- Would you recommend this tenant to other landlords or property managers?
- Any additional comments or information about the tenant’s rental history?
What If a Tenant Doesn’t Have a Rental History?
There may be some reasons that a prospective tenant doesn’t have any rental history. For eg, they may be new in the area, a student who has recently moved out for education, first-time renters, or might have been living in a hotel or other temporary accommodation. If a tenant doesn’t have a rental history then it can present a challenge for landlords during the screening process. However, there are alternative approaches that can help landlords evaluate potential tenants without prior rental history. Here are some of them:
Employment and Income Verification: Request employment verification documents such as employment letters, pay stubs, or bank statements. By evaluating their income and employment history, the landlord can gain insights into their financial capability.
Personal References: Request personal references who can vouch for the tenant’s character and reliability. These references can include employers, coworkers, or trusted acquaintances. Personal references can provide insights into the tenant’s responsibility and integrity.
Background and Credit Checks: Conduct a background check on the tenant which includes a background check, credit check, and other relevant screenings. Despite the absence of a rental history, a tenant’s clean background and positive credit history can serve as strong indicators of their reliability and financial responsibility.
Co-signer or Guarantor: A co-signer is a third party who agrees to be responsible for the rent payments and any other obligations if the tenant defaults. If the tenant lacks a rental history or has a limited credit history, consider requesting a co-signer or a guarantor. This provides an extra layer of financial security for the landlord.
Increased Security Deposit: If the tenant doesn’t have a rental history, you may want to request a higher security deposit. A larger deposit can help lower the risk and provide additional financial protection in case of potential damages or nonpayment of rent.
Personal Interview: Conduct a personal interview with the tenant to assess their character, communication skills, and ability to meet your expectations as a landlord. This interaction can provide valuable insights into the tenant’s suitability.
Verifying an applicant’s rental history safeguards landlords from potential rent arrears and property damage. However, landlords must comply with fair housing regulations and treat all applicants fairly. The landlord should request rental history from all the applicants if they ask for one applicant. There shouldn’t be any case of discrimination or bias during the screening process. OKC Home Realty Services conducts the screening process very thoroughly to ensure that the landlords get the best tenant for renting out. We ensure profit from your rental property and less vacancy time. Contact us for property management needs.
Rental Verification Process FAQs
How to collect rent once a lease has been signed?
In order to collect rent once a lease has been signed, you should communicate the payment details to the tenant, including the due date and acceptable payment methods. Offer convenient payment options like online portals or direct bank transfers. Send timely reminders and enforce any late fee policies outlined in the lease agreement. Maintain open communication to address payment-related concerns or issues.
How to check a prospective tenant's rental history?
To check a tenant's rental history, follow these steps:
- Request a rental application with previous address and landlord references.
- Contact the provided references to verify payment history, lease compliance, and property maintenance.
- Consider conducting a credit check and personal interview to assess their financial responsibility and suitability.
What if a tenant doesn't have a rental history?
If a tenant doesn't have any rental history then you can verify their employment status and income, request personal references, conduct background and credit checks, ask for a co-signer or guarantor, and also request a higher security deposit for added financial position.
How long does rental verification take?
Generally, rental verification process takes from 1 to 3 business days, but can take longer during peak renting season.
Can a landlord refuse to verify rental history?
Yes, a landlord can refuse to verify rental history as there is no legal obligation for them. However, many landlords conduct rental verification as part of their tenant screening process. The rental history verification can provide valuable information about a tenant's past payment history, behavior, and overall reliability.
Can a Landlord Perform Rental Verification Without Consent?
No, landlords must obtain written consent from tenants before initiating the rental verification process. This is to ensure compliance with privacy laws.