Verifying landlord details
One of the most challenging positions to find yourself as a landlord is finding a good tenant. The longer you wait for the more rental income you lose out on. This situation could make you anxious especially if you have a mortgage to service. Finding yourself in this scenario can make you quite desperate to sign a lease agreement with the first available tenant. However, it is imperative to follow protocol in order to get a trustworthy tenant. Standard procedure dictates that you carry out credit checks as well as acquire former landlord checks for all tenants. Therefore some unscrupulous tenants will resort to staging landlord references. Like any other landlord, you want to pick only trustworthy tenants with proven track records. Thus establish a good tenant/ landlord relationship. To set you on the right path we’ve included a few items to help you in verifying landlord details.
Contact the details provided
To get the ball rolling you can start by posing as a potential renter. This entails contacting the landlord provided as a reference. If they are not authentic they will either hang up or avoid meeting at all costs. Regardless of their motive for providing fake references this obviously is a red flag and signals that something is off.
Listen to responses
When you contact a provided landlord reference is it crucial to analyse the responses about the tenant. Answers that are too vague could signal a phony landlord reference. In addition, be wary of responses that passively agree to what you’re referring to. This could also be a sign of a false reference. It is possible that some landlords will not remember the exact details pertaining to a tenant. However, in most instances, it will point to a fake landlord. Another thing to be on the lookout for is a landlord that provides information on the renter that is too personal. This is to say the landlord knows things only a family member or personal friend would know.
Check social media
Take some time to search the applicant’s social media, as well as that of the given reference. If either one of them comes up in the others search, it could be a sign that there is a personal relationship. Again this is a red flag and should be cause for concern.
Experienced landlords that have been in the game for some time always keep meticulous records of all their tenants. This is even after they are long gone. After all, this is one of the tricks to attain success in this trade. Some of the details you can ask to verify include, the dates a tenant moved in and the date they moved out. In addition, they can easily provide a former tenant’s identification number and date of birth. You can also ask for rental amounts, as well as dates of rental increments. A genuine landlord must be in a position to provide this information at a moments notice. However, if the reference cannot furnish a single piece of the requested information, then something is definitely fishy.
Check tax records
One simple yet highly effective way of verifying details is to check tax records. All landlords in Zambia are subject to withholding tax. This as well as their details are a matter of public record. As such you can verify property ownership by matching the reference’s name with records indicating the owner of the property. Thus you can easily check tax records to see who the owner of the property is, or who they sold the property to. In the event that details are different, there is a strong likelihood that it is a fabricated reference.
Cross-reference contact details
Most experts generally agree that you should research the reference’s phone number by name, business or tax records. This should enable you to match this with the number provided by the tenant. You should be on high alert if there is any disparity.
Unfortunately, none of these tips is a hundred percent foolproof. However, they are going to significantly increase the odds that the reference given is legitimate. For peace of mind, use a combination of these verification tips to eliminate any doubt. Lastly, stick with legitimate references only!