How to Spot Fake Landlord References

Finding a quality tenant can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. If you own a residential or commercial property, tenant searching, and placement can be a daunting task. As a landlord or property owner, you want to fill your vacancies as quickly as possible, but you also don’t want to settle for a poor quality tenant, who will give you trouble throughout the term of a lease.

That being said, it’s important to properly screen tenants before considering them for your rental property.  At Quest Real Estate, LLC, we handle all screening of prospective renters, including background, reference and credit checks. We also can ask for former landlord references. We ask for landlord references because landlords tend to be honest to other landlords/property managers, and it gives us an idea of what the person(s) is like as a tenant.

Unfortunately, some people will ask a friend, family member, or pay someone to fake a landlord reference, whether it’s a letter, email, or phone call. Surprisingly, this occurs more than you think, especially if the tenant does not have a good background with landlords like if they didn’t pay rent on time or destroyed a unit.

As a landlord, you are looking for a quality tenant who has a clean track record. Below, we’ve shared some ways in which you can spot fake references, so you can weed these people out during your tenant search.

Analyze all responses about the tenant – Contact the previous landlord listed and don’t settle for vague answers. If the person is stumbling or isn’t sure what to say, this could be a sign of a false reference. If they are unable to give you any details about the tenant or try to hang up quickly, this person likely wasn’t the prospective tenant’s previous landlord. If the responses are too personal, take note if the responses are something only a family member or friend would know. However, some landlords are busy or might not remember every tenant or detail, so just be cautious with how they respond.

Check up on the reference’s name – Go online, whether you Google the reference’s name or look them up on a social media platform. Check to see if this person is tied to the potential tenant through tagged pictures and posts. If there is a lot of overlap in the people’s profiles, these individuals may have a personal relationship and not a tenant/landlord relationship.

Request verifying details – Verify tenant information such as move in and move out dates, SSN, and birthdate. Ask the reference to give you the information. Not all landlords keep detailed records, but if none of their references can give you any details, this is a red flag.

Look up tax info – Research the landlord’s name and see what comes up regarding land records and property tax. If the name matches the address give, this is a likely a legitimate reference.

Cross reference phone numbers – Search the phone number you were provided to make sure it matches up the name of the reference you were given. If you find a different number with the landlord’s name, call that number and find out why it is different.

Ask for specific information only the landlord would know – Ask for specifics of the property the prospective tenant lived in or give incorrect info about the property and see if the landlord agrees with you or not.

Obviously, none of the above tips are foolproof, especially since every landlord handles their business differently. Try and use a combination of the above tips to verify references and if something is off, keep digging. You want to fully investigate into the legitimacy of the references before eliminating a potential client. You want to do your due diligence when tenant screening and never refuse to rent based on a potential tenant’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability.

You can also try to avoid getting fake references by informing applicants of the consequences of lying on an application. Let applicants know that applications with false information will immediately be rejected and you will not consider them in the future.

Looking for a Jacksonville Property Management Company?

As a Jacksonville property management company, our team at Quest Real Estate, LLC. have worked with many landlords throughout the years, helping them in whatever ways they need us, including tenant placement and screening services.  As your property management company, we will help you land quality tenants to your building.

Tenant placement isn’t easy and it is time consuming, so if you are struggling to fill units and need help with the tenant search, our team at Quest Real Estate are experienced in tenant screening and can take this off your plate. We work hard to find you the right tenants.

At Quest Real Estate, we take pride in our quality property management services. We have a long history of providing residential and commercial property management company services to our customers.

We are knowledgeable in local sales and rental markets, and we are ready to put that knowledge to work for you. Our main goals are to make you the most successful owner possible, and to provide you peace of mind knowing that your tenants and property will be well managed.

Don’t just take our word for it, read some testimonials about us and our property management services.

At Quest Real Estate, LLC, we have years of experience working with tenants and we can help you find ways to keep and attract new tenants so you can continue to grow your investment for years to come.

Our Jacksonville property management team prepares leases, has 24-hour emergency maintenance, collects rent, takes photos, aggressively markets your property, and more. We will work with you to find ways to better serve your tenants, attract new ones, and manage your property.

If you’re looking for a Jacksonville property management company  to manage your property or find you tenants, let Quest Real Estate help you!

Contact our team at Quest Real Estate, LLC, by submitting our contact form. If you’d like more information on Jacksonville, or information on homes for sale or rent here in Jacksonville, Fl, call us at 904-373-9171.