Calling a prospective tenant’s employer for verification of a job is something many of us do not really like doing. We can be met with suspicions about who we are and why we are asking, or even hit a wall at a human resources department. Veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi, who is both a rental property owner, landlord and property manager himself, takes on this question and others from landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals.
Dear Landlord Hank:
We have a prospective tenant and need to verify that he works where he says he does. Do you call employers for verification of employment on prospective tenants? Any tips on best way to do this?
Dear Landlord Tim:
On most rental applications there is a place for an applicant to sign giving you the right, and the applicant’s authorization, to verify all data on the application.
Work and income history is one very important component of a background picture of a possible tenant.
You want to make sure that tenant makes sufficient income for your rental and all associated bills-electric, water, sewer, gas, cable, internet, trash etc. And, that the tenant has enough money for other living expenses such as food, transportation, etc.
Ask for copies of pay stubs along with employer verification
I ask for copies of recent pay stubs, (couple of months) and look closely at the information you have on a pay stub.
- Does hourly rate indicated on application match up with pay stub?
- How long has tenant been on this job?
- Is a large part of applicants pay derived from overtime?
- What is the applicant netting from his job after taxes and deductions? (If it’s a new job, it might not work out.)
On the job for six months and employer verification
I like someone to have at least six months on the job.
I do call employers and they normally ask for this authorization to release information.
Many large companies won’t say much more than hire date and that this person works for them.
You can also ask for bank statements and tax returns (last two years). You only need first couple of pages.
I like written proof of income and verification of employment.
This person wants to live in most likely your biggest asset so protect it and yourself by doing your homework.
You want to have a tenant that can pay the rent without fail and without a problem. So with sufficient verifiable income you should be able to rely on this.
Then check residential and credit history next to see if applicant actually pays their bills.
Other recent Dear Landlord Hank posts you may have missed:
About Landlord Hank:
“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc, in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.