Having one or many investment properties can be a lot of work – and it’s a lot if responsibility too. One of the ways you can make it all more manageable is by choosing responsible and reliable tenants. Damage deposits aside, you want people who are going to respect your property and care for it – not to mention pay their bills on time and not hassle the neighbours.
Although requesting a credit check may be a step too far, and will very likely limit the pool of people interested in renting from you, asking for information like their employment history and the contact information for previous landlords is entirely reasonable. Call all their references, including their place of employment to ensure they are indeed employed there. In order to avoid problem tenants, its important that you screen any applicants thoroughly.
Giving a poor reference isn’t really allowed, but refusing to give a reference altogether is. Therefore, if you contact a previous landlord or employer and they refuse to give you a reference of any kind, this is a good indicator that they weren’t the best tenants. Generally speaking, when you have a great tenant or employee, you’re only too happy to say good things about them, and when you leave a situation on good terms, there are usually agreements made that include providing positive references. Not all tenants may be aware of this, and many may count on you not calling their references.
When it comes to renting a property, character references aren’t as important as professional ones. Character references can be provided by family members or friends, who are biased and have likely been coached about what to say to you. Stick to requests for professional references only on rental applications.