What is rental verification (does rental history verification matter?)

What is rental verification?

A rental verification helps landlords and property managers to verify the rental history of their applicant. This is done through a background check combined with a phone call verification. Most background checks will provide rental history but that data can be flawed at times due to database errors. Calling the previous and current landlord is an important step of the rental verification.

Requirements for Landlord Verification Phone Calls

When an applicant fills out a rental application and conveniently forgets their current landlord’s phone number, this should raise a flag.

Correctly executing a landlord rental verification can give you the best insight into what kind of tenant the applicant will be.

They can tell you if rent was paid on time, if there were any problems with neighbors and if they had any noise complaints, etc.

Most landlords love giving out this information, both horrible stories, and telling you if the applicant was their best tenant to date, and they begged them not to leave.

Before calling, make sure to get all of the following information from a prospective tenant:

  • Signed consent
  • Landlord name/Property Management Company
  • Contact Information (Phone number, or email if necessary)
  • The address they lived at

The above information is necessary to do a rental verification, but it also helps in knowing the little things like:

  • How long they lived at the address
  • Rent
  • Reason for leaving

The more information you have going into a residence verification phone call, the better. This will help you differentiate a friend from an actual landlord.

When applicants try to get away with providing the phone number for a friend, very rarely do they inform them of all those little pieces of information.

If it truly is the landlord though, they will easily know all of it, or at least be able to look at their records to confirm the details.

In the video below we show you a mock rental verification call that gives you insight on what to say.

NOTE: RentPrep no longer provides the verification call add-on to our tenant background and credit reports. If you’d like to still run a background check through our service please use promo code “TWENTYOFF” to get 20% off your first report with us. Just sign up for a free account to get started.

Does rental history verification matter?

This opinion will vary from one landlord to the next.

Some will claim that a rental history verification won’t give you a good view of the tenant because landlords will lie to get rid of a bad tenant.

This is true sometimes so we suggest taking the opinion of the current landlord with a grain of salt when it’s positive.

However, we’ve had current landlords explain that the person is being evicted within a week. That’s why these calls are so important.

A previous landlord will shoot straight most of the time as there isn’t anything to lose.

Doing a proper rental history verification is important. It doesn’t take a lot of time and one phone call can save you months of headaches.

How Many Phone Calls Should be Made for a Verification?

This is going to differ depending on who you talk to, but we have found that 3 phone calls, with messages left, in a 24 hour period is best.

Because let’s be honest, if you leave someone three messages and they don’t call you back, why would leaving one more message make them pick up the phone?

Talking to landlords and supervisors is important though, and you need it to help make your decision on whether the applicant is a good fit.

To help get return phone calls from stubborn landlords/supervisors, one of our clients will actually call the applicant and tell them that their landlord/supervisor is not returning our phone call.

Doing this will also help to show you how serious the applicant is about renting from you, if they really want the place, then they will call and ask the landlord/supervisor to call back, and follow up with you.

On the other hand, if they aren’t so serious, you most likely won’t hear from that individual again. If you want to learn more about making the verification calls to check out another great article here.

What is a rental verification form?

A rental verification form is an authorization form that a tenant applicant will sign to give permission to the landlord to perform a background check. This also includes the ability to call the current employer, previous landlord, and current landlord.

Many applications have this built right into the app. Feel free to grab our free rental application here.