By: Elaine Simpson Founder: Occupancy Solutions LLC.
Landlord Checks – Prevention Is Always Best
It’s easy to set aside that list of previous and current landlords that you should call about a potential new tenant. After all, you may feel that it does not provide any valuable information to you because the current or previous landlord won’t share much information or only provide very vague information. The fact is, though, the information these landlords can offer can provide you with just what you need to make a key rental decision about the prospect. You have to take the time to ask the questions. And, you need to ask the right questions to make the call worthwhile. If sending out written verifications, be sure that the questions are very specific, easy to understand and quick to answer. Since you’ll be communicating to industry colleagues realize they can often understand your need to complete this project.
What valuable information can it provide to you?
Once you have met with a potential resident and gathered information about their needs, it is time for you to also ask for current or previous landlord information. That is, you want to get the contact telephone and email/fax information of their current and previous landlords. Once you do, ask a few key questions and learn about these prospective tenants in a more thorough manner.
- Verify information about your future resident. In most large communities, the manager may not know the resident personally. However, he or she should be able to verify information about the resident to identify them. It is a good idea to present information about both applicants, if there are two.
- Ask questions about payment. Did the applicant pay on time? Was the prospect one that required frequent reminder calls or notices? Did the landlord have to track down the resident for deposits or fees?
- Ask what type of resident they were. Ask a question such as, “did their neighbors ever make a complaint about the resident?” Noise violations, for example, can be a big concern. You can also ask about odors, high guest traffic, and loud parties. Were there any complaints about the resident from other residents?
- Were there any other violations to the lease? Ask about specific concerns you may have, such as unauthorized people living in the apartment or damage or house keeping problems.
It may seem like these questions are common sense. However, if you do not ask the specific question to the current/ previous landlord, he or she may not think to tell you. The more you know about the potential resident you are considering for your community, the better of a decision you can make and often you will minimize problems in the future. It takes about five minutes to call or send an email/fax to a previous or current landlord and to ask these questions. Yet, doing so can make such a big difference in the quality of residents you bring into your community. After all, if you want long-term residents that do not cause problems or extra work for you, you will want to spend these few minutes now gathering valuable information. It often gives you the inside scoop you need.
With over 26 years of experience in the multifamily industry, Elaine Simpson founded Occupancy Solutions, LLC to provide site operations, marketing, leasing consulting and training services for multifamily professionals of market rate, senior and affordable housing communities throughout the United States. Occupancy Solutions, LLC, recognizes and tailors to the unique operational, marketing and leasing challenges faced by their clients to assist distressed communities with proven cost effective techniques and strategies to achieve optimal occupancy while realizing ideal rents and reducing expenses.
Ms. Simpson is a National Speaker, NAA EI Faculty Member, Michigan licensed real estate broker, a Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist, an Accredited Resident Manager and a Certified Assisted Housing Manager.