This has happened to me twice already — at least I have caught it twice. It may have happened more than that and I didn’t catch it.
The applicant for a property lists a friend or associate as their current landlord and the friend/associate gives a glowing verification of rent!
The first time was the most remarkable.
I was showing this 4-bedroom house to a couple with no kids. They showed up in a Lexus dressed to the nines. They were deacons in their church. I was salivating over the prospect of this ‘perfect’ couple renting our house. As perfect as this couple was, something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just a gut feeling.
They made application and we ran the screen. Check, check. All I need to do now is verify their rental references and this baby is locked up!
I called their landlord who I immediately noted was of the same ethnicity as the applicants. No problem. So noted. I spent about 10 minutes on the phone asking, and receiving, all of the vital information to confirm these were great tenants. At the end of the conversation I asked 2 simple questions — “How much was the rent?” and “Does it include utilities?”
The ‘landlord’ stumbled over both of these questions and as I hung up the phone I thought it was odd that after being in the file mentally for 10 minutes that she would stumble like that. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to make just one more phone call.
I looked up the owners of the property and called them. I introduced myself to them and told them why I was calling. The first words out of their mouth was “You’ll need to talk to our lawyer about this!”
From that point on the whole file crumbled! The applicants were in the middle of an eviction and would not leave the house. They owed a ton of money. On and on the story went.
Needless to say, they didn’t get our house either. In fact, I called them back and told them they had a lot of gall calling themselves deacons in a church. I chastised them as only a good Christian can and sent them on their way to b.s. another landlord.
Not on my watch!!!
You can check out our rental criteria — gleaned from experiences like the one above — at Full Service PM Tenant Screening Criteria.