When it comes to ensuring the success of your landlord-tenant relationship, thorough tenant screening is critical. An essential aspect of this process is checking the rental references provided by applicants. Unfortunately, not all references are genuine, and some individuals may attempt to deceive landlords with fake references. Below are some tricks to catching these fake references that landlords should always keep in mind before moving forward with a tenant.

Verify Contact Information and Details

The initial step in determining the authenticity of a rental reference is to carefully verify the contact information and details provided by the applicant. Pay close attention to elements such as contact information, property details, and dates of tenancy.

Start by confirming the accuracy of the phone number and email address provided for the previous landlord. Make sure they are valid and align with the contact information listed on the rental application. Fake references often supply incorrect or disconnected contact details.

Additionally, scrutinize the property details mentioned in the reference, ensuring they match the information provided in the applicant's rental history. Inconsistencies or vague descriptions may raise suspicions of a fake reference. Lastly, cross-check the dates of the applicant's tenancy with the reference. If the reference cannot provide specific dates or offers conflicting information, it could indicate a fake reference.

Speak with the Previous Landlord

One of the most effective ways to ascertain the validity of a rental reference is to engage in direct communication with the previous landlord. During this conversation, it's crucial to ask detailed questions, listen to the reference's tone and knowledge, and verify their identity.

Ask specific questions about the applicant's tenancy, including their rent payment history, any instances of lease violations, and the condition of the property upon move-out. Genuine landlords will be able to provide precise details regarding these aspects. Pay attention to the tone and knowledge displayed by the reference. A legitimate landlord should possess a good understanding of the tenant's history and can offer specific information about their time as a tenant.

Also, ensure you verify the identity of the person you are speaking with. Ask for their name, the property's address, and their relationship to the applicant. Be cautious if the reference hesitates or provides inconsistent information, as these could be indicators of a fake reference.

Search for an Online Presence

In today's digital age, many individuals and businesses leave a digital footprint. To further validate a rental reference, consider conducting a brief online search.

Start by checking if the reference or the property management company has a presence on social media platforms. This can provide additional confirmation of their identity and legitimacy. Additionally, explore online reviews and listings for the property management company or landlord. Legitimate references often have an online reputation that you can find quickly.

Finally, consult online directories or property management databases to see if the reference or the property management company is listed. These sources can be valuable in verifying their existence and credibility.

Spotting a fake rental reference requires a meticulous and detail-oriented approach. By verifying contact information, engaging in meaningful conversations with previous landlords, and conducting online research, landlords can significantly reduce the risk of being deceived by deceptive rental references. It's essential to remember that comprehensive tenant screening, which includes multiple checks such as credit and background checks from Tenant Background Search, remains a fundamental practice in selecting reliable and responsible tenants for your property.