Get Ready to Rent - Be Ready to Give a Landlord Reference
David Borden - July 15, 2015
Tenants, find out how to get ready to rent a new place. Next step, make sure you will get a positive landlord reference from your current landlord.
Dave: Hello everybody, I'm Dave Borden with Rent Screener. I'm here with George Trombley, Las Vegas property manager. 49 years experience. 10,000 tenant screenings under his belt or more. The next video, we're going to talk about landlord references. George, when you're screening a tenant, do you care about hearing from their previous landlord?
George: Yes, very, very much.
Dave: Okay and do you have any advice for people that may be renting a place right now before they move out or while they're renting to prepare them for some questions that you might ask down the road when they apply for one of your properties.
George: Right. We're going to want to talk to your previous landlord if that's possible. We're certainly going to send him a questionnaire about you and your tenancy. Sometimes we get that back, sometimes they're very, very favorable about you and other times they're blank. One of the things that you can do, one, is at least have the phone number of the landlord, or whoever is control of the property. If you can, get a statement from them, a ledger cards from when you lived there. A statement from the periods that you lived there so that you can ... You can submit that to us as evidence that you paid your rent, you were a good tenant. Those will also record how many [inaudible 00:01:33] fees, how many times you were late. Those will all be things that we want to consider.
Dave: While you're currently renting from somebody, remember that your property manager, your apartment complex, your next landlord is probably going to call that person that you're currently from and get a reference on you and they're going to want to know a couple things. Do you pay the rent?
George: Right. Did you live there? Were you on the lease? We're going to want to know that. When did you live there?
Dave: What about maintaining the property?
George: Right, landlords are going to want to know, we want to know did they have any big problems when you moved out. Did you leave holes in the walls? Did you create a lot of problems while you lived there? Would they re-rent to you? A lot of landlords would say, "Yes, I would re-rent to them provided that they passed all my screening and my credit." Sometimes you don't know how to accept that or understand that. That might just be saying, "No, I don't think I would do that because I don't think I'd let them pass my screening again, or they might not get past my screening." Another thing that's important, I'm a real estate broker and ownership records of property are public records in just about every part of the world.
If you said that you lived at 425 Elm Street, or you rented at 425 Elm Street from 2009 through 2010, and you give me Mr. Borden here as the owner of the property I could check and see did he own that property. I could check and see did he own that property and if he doesn't then the name you gave me for landlord verification, you're lying to me and you're going to get disapproved.
Dave: Are you saying, George, sometimes people give you fraudulent landlord references?
George: Yes, they do.
Dave: How do you handle that?
George: It's an automatic disapproval. Automatic disapproval, yeah.
Dave: Some people will try to get away with giving their brother-in-laws name or somebody that will give a favorable landlord reference. If you get caught doing that you can consider yourself pretty much disapproved immediately. Another thing that's important that is how did you handle minor maintenance issues? Obviously George is a landlord. According to his lease he's recorded, he's responsible for a lot of repairs to the property. If there's something major I'm sure you have no problem hopping out there and taking care of it.
George: Not at all.
Dave: You're a tenant and there's a minor maintenance issue that you can take care of in a few minutes for a few bucks at Home Depot, you could really help George out by taking care of that yourself or for your current landlord. I'm not saying that you have to, but George is going to ask, did you pay the rent on time? Were you a good citizen in the property? Meaning, did you keep the yard nice, was the house kept up? Was it clean?
George: Did you sneak a pet in?
Dave: Did you disclose your pets?
George: Right. People sneak their pet in. Right.
Dave: Being a good citizen in your property is the first step toward the landlord reference to your next property manager or landlord. I can promise you that the vast majority of them, in some individual owners, investors don't have the ability to run credit reports and check criminal backgrounds and don't really know how to do that. Some of them will rely 100% on a landlord reference. And they'll call your previous landlord and see if you are a good tenant. Just because you pay rent on time and handle your financial requirements, doesn't mean that you were clean, doesn't mean that you didn't persistently call them about little, minor maintenance issues and they're going to potentially report that when someone asks for a reference.
Dave: You can ... Go head.
George: Another thing to think about is that you're applying online and the more information that the property manager who's going to consider you for rent, you're not going to get a second chance to make your first impression. Give him all the stuff that he needs and don't be dishonest about it. If you can provide me with a statement from ABC Realty where you rented and it shows all good, that's going to create a wonderful first impression. If I've got to do a lot of extra work because you're not getting me pay stubs, I got to call your employer and pay a $25 fee to get an employment report, these are all things that are going to be, show up negative against you. The easier you make the job, the easier it is to verify you, the better off it's going to be. You're not going to get a second chance to make your first impression.
Dave: One more time George, who do you work for?
George: I work for the person who owns the property and he's paying me to verify all of the information about you because you're going to be ... We're going to turn over a $300,000, $400,000 asset to you, and we're not going to have all of that money up front to pay for that when you damage it. It's a risk and we're going to limit the risk.
Dave: If you want to start getting ready for your next rental, make sure that you're doing a good job in the one that you're in. You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror because the final question that George is going to ask is, "Would you re-rent to this tenant?" If you can't really look yourself in the mirror and say that I've been a good tenant, than your landlord is definitely not going to give that report to George. Be as good as tenant as possible even if the landlord is not a great landlord. You can't control that. You can only control what you do. Be as good a tenant as you can because you're going to need that landlord reference going forward. Thanks for watching. I'm Dave Borden. You can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org. George, what's your contact email?
George: Yeah, I'm george@blackbirdrealty ... I'm sorry, email@example.com.
Dave: Thanks a lot. Have a great day.