What Is Rental Verification? How to Verify Tenant Rental History

Rental verification involves validating a tenant's rental application information and is a vital step in ensuring you select the most-qualified tenant.

When searching for your next tenant, it is essential to examine the applicant's residential history and establish contact with their former landlords to assess their rental conduct. However, as a first-time landlord, you may wonder how to effectively verify an applicant's rental history.

In this article, we provide a detailed, step-by-step guide on navigating the rental verification process. Additionally, we offer a set of questions that you can ask previous landlords to check any information supplied by your prospective tenants.

What Is a Rental Verification?

Rental verification involves the landlord reaching out to the applicant's former landlord to authenticate and confirm the rental history provided in the application. While credit checks and rental background checks offer information about a tenant's financial behavior and criminal background, rental verifications allow landlords to establish a connection with previous landlords and gain insights into their experience with the applicant.

Why Does Rental History Verification Matter?

According to SmartMove, evictions can cost a landlord as much as $10,000 per unit. As such, landlords should do everything in their power to avoid evictions, and this means securing the best possible tenant every time.

Validating your tenant's rental history is crucial for assessing the accuracy of the information provided in their rental application. If any aspect of their rental history is found to be falsified, it should be taken into account during the application review process.

The applicant's previous landlord serves as a valuable source of information, offering insights into their payment history, approach to addressing maintenance concerns, and their interactions with both the landlord and fellow tenants. By considering these insights alongside tenant screening reports, you can make a more informed decision about whether they are a suitable match for your rental property.

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How to Verify a Prospective Tenant’s Rental History

There are two steps to handling the rental verification process. First, use a property management software like Landlord Studio to prescreen applicants and collect important information, and secondly verify the information you’ve gathered with the landlord references your tenants have supplied.

1. Request a Rental Application

Collect and prescreen all of your rental applicants with Landlord Studio to get quickly assess which prospective tenants meet your criteria. As part of this process, you should also collect the previous landlord’s details so that you can reach out to them separately to verify the information they’ve shared.

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2. Review the Landlord’s Answers to Your Questions

After the applicant has submitted their rental application, you will have access to the questionnaire responses provided by their previous landlords. This allows you to evaluate the applicant's honesty in their rental application and determine if any further clarification is required for specific answers.

3. Directly Contact the Landlord for More Context

In the event that a previous landlord has provided a comment in the questionnaire and you require additional information, you have the option to directly contact them. This presents a valuable opportunity to ask more specific questions about the applicant, enabling you to gather comprehensive insights into their rental habits before making a decision to approve or deny their application.

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Questions to Ask Landlord References In A Rental Verification Form

When conducting a rental verification, whether through direct contact with an applicant's previous landlord or a tenant screening service, there are specific questions that you should seek answers to. Here are the key inquiries to include in a rental verification form when reaching out to previous landlords:

  1. Can you confirm that the applicant rented from you?
  2. Did the applicant consistently pay rent on time?
  3. Did the applicant demonstrate responsible maintenance of the rental property?
  4. Was the unit clean and in good condition when the applicant vacated?
  5. Did the applicant cause any disturbances to other tenants or neighbors?
  6. Did the tenant violate any terms stated in the lease agreement?
  7. Were lease renewal options presented to the tenant?
  8. Based on your experience, would you consider renting to the applicant again?

By posing these questions, you can gain valuable insights and move closer to finding a tenant with a proven history of timely rent payments and responsible property care.

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Screen Prospective Tenants With Landlord Studio

Conducting a rental verification is essential to ensure an applicant is being honest about their residential history, as well as allow you the chance to reach out to their previous landlords. 

With Landlord Studio, our system automatically streamlines the rental verification process by allowing you to collect and manage applicants in one place and our in-built prescreening questionnaire makes it simple to identify qualifying prospects.

You can then review their responses through your dashboard and run a comprehensive TransUnion SmartMove report on qualifying tenants to get a full credit and background check.

Create an account to easily screen prospective tenants with landlord software designed to make renting easier for landlords and tenants.

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