How should I respond to calls for references on a former tenant?

The best business practice is to be truthful, and provide information that can be supported by actual experiences, written documents, and tenant records. Contacting landlords for tenant references is an important tenant screening for verifying applicant information. Due diligence is always a requirement for business protections for persons and property. Factual information provided during a reference call helps the prospective landlord make a more informed decision for tenancy. As a landlord yourself, you would appreciate the same courtesy when you conduct your reference checks.

You should not make comments about former tenants that have no factual basis, such as personal opinions, or bias. Giving false information or misleading information about a former tenant could result in legal action against you by either or both prospective landlord and former tenant. However if the former tenant damaged the rental unit, and subsequently forfeited his security deposit, that information as supported by your documentation, could be important to the prospective landlord. Conversely if the former tenant was a quality tenant with a history of timely rent who maintained the unit in good condition, that information can also be important to the prospective landlord for decision making.

Keeping good records is important to protecting your business from potential lawsuits. When you document events during the tenancy you should include factual details that, when records are accessed at a later time, can provide information to commonly asked reference questions such as:

What was the date of the tenancy?

Did the tenant pay rent on time?

Did the tenant keep the rental unit in good condition?

Were there any problems with other tenants or neighbors?

Was the full security deposit returned?

Did the tenant give proper notice to vacate?

Providing reference information for a former tenant does not have to be complicated. You should be fair to the former tenant by giving factual information to the prospective landlord for his decision making.

Comments are closed.