Unfortunately, not every prospective tenant applying for a rental unit will be completely honest in their part of the process. It’s not uncommon for some lies to emerge on a rental application, so property managers should know how to identify lies and red flags. Here are five tips and tricks that property management can use to pick the real references from the fake.
If the reference is a personal relationship rather than an actual rental reference, there’s a good chance that you will find evidence of this relationship on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media outlets. The applicants and their so-called reference may be tagged in the same images or posts, or you may see that one is a follower of the other.
Sure, it’s not impossible that a tenant might have made a friend out of a previous landlord, but this isn’t typically the case. While this might not say, for sure, that the reference is bogus, it is a big red flag to consider.
When property managers and landlords call for references, they should inquire about very specific matters related to the applicant. Things like their move-in date, deposit amounts, number of people and animals present in the home should be details that the reference can readily give. If the reference hesitates or outright cannot provide that information, there’s a good chance that the reference is fake.
It’s time to flex your acting skills! Call up the reference and pretend that you’re inquiring about available rental properties. They should be prepared to give you relevant information if they are a legitimate landlord. Sure, a friend or relative may be anticipating a call like this but asking the questions that you’d be asked as property management is a good way to verify a reference.
A landlord’s name should be tied to the address, and whether this is the case or not can easily be verified through a public search. If the search shows that the reference is, indeed, valid, then you’ve got a legitimate reference on your hands. However, there are some legit reasons that could make this information not line up, such as if the property owner had sold the home.
When calling up a reference, property managers, and landlords should inquire about the details concerning the property that only they would know. Things like square footage, number of units in the building, parking arrangements, and other specifics should be asked. The reference should be able to give you that information easily. You can also try giving false information about the property and see if the reference corrects you.
It’s easy enough for a prospective tenant to fib on their rental application, but it’s much harder to weed out the lies. It is the responsibility of property managers and landlords to make sure that they are practicing due diligence in ensuring that a reference is legitimate.