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Selecting responsible Tenants is key in keeping your real estate investing business afloat.


Reference and Background Checks

One of most common questions I get asked is.  . .

"How do you avoid bad tenants?"

That is a very good question, and an important one to ask if you want to avoid any future hassles and headaches. 

A good Landlord must be able to play the role of a private investigator to determine who would and wouldn't make a successful Tenant. Picking responsible Tenants is key in keeping your real estate business afloat.  But be aware, it takes some sleuthing work to get a compete picture of your prospective Tenantís lifestyle and financial responsibility.

Are They Telling the Truth?

With the surge of shady renters out there and the abundance of cell phones, itís become incredibly easy for people to give out fake references. These range from friends or coworkers pretending to be Landlords or even employers. 

One easy way to determine if your Tenant is telling the truth is to use Google and enter the phone number of the Landlord or reference.  Does the information that comes up make sense with what the Tenant told you?  Is it the correct name, city, employer, etc...?

Conducting Reference Checks

When meeting with potential Tenants, use the Rental Application on this site which includes a signed release from the applicant allowing you to speak about them with their current employer or past and current Landlords.

When checking rental references, here are several questions you can ask to help you get more information on the Tenant. 

Reference Check Questions for Previous Landlords

When did he/she rent from you?

How long did this person live in the rental?

Did he/she pay the rent on time?

Did they have any pets?

Were there any complaints from other Tenants?

Was there any damage besides normal wear and tear? 

Was the tenant respectful to you and the property?

Did the Tenant give you proper notice to end the tenancy?

Would you rent to this Tenant again?

Reference Check Questions for Employers

When did the employee start?

What is their position?

Are they full time or part time?

What is their current wage? (Check against the application and pay stubs)

Next, go to:

►► Avoiding Bad Tenants

►► Due Diligence



Smart Landlord Tip

In addition to performing rental reference checks, here are some other ways to get to know your potential Tenant:

1. Google their name in quotation marks like this: "Jane Smith" and see what comes up.  If it's a common name, you might have to add the city: "Jane Smith" Kelowna

If they are under 50, they'll likely have a LinkedIn account that you can use to verify some employment information. 

Many social media users will also have a Pinterest account that you can use to gain an idea of their interests.

2. Check them out on Facebook.  Nearly everyone, except for perhaps some older folks, have a Facebook account.  Many have not set their privacy settings very high allowing you to view their photos, their timeline, comments and so on.  Ask yourself, are they the type of Tenant you want to rent to? 

They will not know you checked them out on FB unless of course, you ask to be their friend (which I wouldn't recommend). 


3. Get the address of where they currently live.  Do a drive-by.  Is the yard neat or is it a mess? 

4. Look inside their vehicle.  I know this sounds strange, but it has been said that the inside of one's vehicle can indicate how they keep a home. 

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