Unfortunately for landlords, the only defense against bad tenants is the tenant verification that you conduct. It doesn’t matter if you manage a residential or commercial property, in order to prevent unpleasant surprises and ensure that your tenants are honest citizens, tenant verification is critical. This tenant verification process helps you to identify risky applicants. So, it needs to be consistent and thorough.
Here are five typical actions of tenant verification.
1. Conduct an Identity Check
When you speak with a prospective tenant over the phone, get their name, current address, and phone number. Tell them to bring a photo ID to the property showing. Canadian privacy laws don’t prevent you from asking see photo identification from a prospective tenant. However, as a landlord you need to be aware that this is the collection of personal information, and is subject to privacy law guidelines.
You need to explain to your tenant why you are asking for it. As well, and this is key, you cannot keep it for any longer than necessary. So, you probably don’t need to take a copy, but rather get a good look at the identification to ensure the person you are speaking to and the identification match. (If you are unsure of your local or provincial laws, check with authorities or a lawyer.)
2. Ask Questions
Steer clear of questions that violate Canada’s Human Rights Code. These relate to questions around age, place of origin, religion, disability, family status, sexual orientation, gender expression and other Human Rights grounds.
You can ask these types of questions:
- Have you rented before?
- Why are you leaving your current address?
- When are you looking to move in?
- Do you work?
- Where do you work?
- What is your income?
- How many people will be living with you? What are their names?
- Could you provide permission for a credit check?
- Could you provide me with references of past landlords?
Essentially you want to make sure this tenant will be a good fit for your property.
3. Confirm Income
A letter from an employer shows that the prospective tenant is making an effort to become your tenant. It’s a great start, but always call and confirm its validity. It wouldn’t be the first time a lead has fudged on employment status or income.
4. Run a Credit Check
Credit checks are crucial to confirm that the prospect is financially stable. Property solutions like Property Vista’s have built in tenant verification abilities to reduce the risk of choosing the wrong resident. It evaluates all applicants, co-applicants and guarantors within seconds, so you can fill units with confidence. Analyze everything you need, from applicant income to debt to required rent, to make sure the prospect will be a good fit for your property.
5. Check Landlord References
Always, always call previous landlords. Talking to your prospect’s references will give you a better idea about who they are, their ability to pay rent and whether or not they are a good match for your property.
Property Vista’s Tenant Verification
Our system uses a state-of-the-art algorithm to analyze more than 30 points of interest, such as credit score and debt, income and required rent. You’ll eliminate applications that do not meet your approval without having to lift a finger. If this sounds interesting, check out pricing here and get a demo.