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Tip #24: Stick to the Script!
Ever call up your applicant’s previous landlord, then hurry through the call because you didnt know what to ask? Well, you are not alone!
ScriptHaving a script can help you get the information you need.
Here are some questions that other landlords ask:
Is this a good time to talk, or should we reschedule when you have more time?
Did the tenant pay their rent on time, every time?
Did the tenant give you notice they were leaving? Are they leaving prior to the lease expiring?
Did neighbors or anyone complain about this tenant?
Did you ever have to warn the tenant about behavior?
Was the unit/property in good condition when they left?
Did you return all of the deposit?
Why did they leave?
Did they have a pet? Did you know they had a pet? Was the pet disruptive?
What type of unit did they rent? How much did they pay?
Did they pay by check?
It is a good practice to ask the same questions of each landlord reference, for each applicant. Create a checklist with the questions, and jot down the answers. Place the completed sheet in the tenant file.
Do you have other suggestions? We’d love to know! Share your comments below.
See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.
Do you have a tip to share with other landlords? Contact our editor at

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  • sonja gettel

    Valuable checklist which will lead to more thorough and consistent background screening history. Thanks.

  • Joseph Holland

    You never know if you are speaking to a actual landlord or just a friend that the potential new tenant listed as his/her last landlord/Property Manager. One question I like to ask is “How many units do you own or manage “. Sometimes if the landlord/Property Manager is not legitimate, this question will stump them and they may say I do not own any units.

  • Kim Ezzell

    Mona writes:

    Here are other important questions to ask when doing a reference for previous landlord:

    Is the person on the lease? Any other names on the lease?

    Is their account paid in full?

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