Giving other landlords references about one of your former tenants could make some of us uneasy. This week a landlord asks veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi how he handles references when other landlords call.

Dear Landlord Hank:

Do you give other landlords reference information when they call you about a previous tenant? I am afraid of getting in trouble and reluctant to respond to a voice mail that was left from another landlord. The tenant in question is not one I would rent to again. What should I do?


Deal Landlord Jerry:

I respect my tenants’ right to privacy so I require a written authorization from the tenant to release any information.

Normally, when a person applies for a rental, the application has verbiage at the bottom saying that the person filling out the application gives authorization for verification/investigation of references, credit and criminal history, etc.

I tell whoever is calling to fax or scan the authorization for release of information signed by applicant to me, along with a written list of information they want.

Small landlords may not have a tenant verification questionnaire

Some Ma and Pa places don’t have a tenant verification questionnaire.

So I’m willing to answer questions on the phone, in that case, with tenant authorization and release.

I’m always honest answering questions from other landlords.

I don’t want to get stuck with a bad tenant and you don’t want to pass one on either, just to get rid of your bad apple.

It’s good this problematic tenant is leaving though.


Hank Rossi

Other recent Dear Landlord Hank posts you may have missed:

If A Good Tenant Loses A Job How Long Before You Evict Them?

How Do You Raise Rent For A Long-Time Tenant?

 How Do You Know When To Change Property Managers?

 Where Do You Draw The Line On Normal Wear And Tear?

Dear Landlord Hank: Do You Conduct Rental Inspections? How Often?

Dear Landlord Hank: How Do I Motivate My Tenants To Conserve Water?

Is An Old Drug Conviction A Big Deal?

Dear Landlord Hank: Should I Give A Tenant More Time To Pay?

Dear Landlord Hank: Tenant’s Sewer Line Clogged With Tree Roots

Do You Call A Prospective Tenant’s Employer For Verification?

About Landlord Hank:

Dear Landlord Hank: Do You Give Other Landlords References On Former Tenants?

Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties“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.

Photo credit grinvalds via