Tenant Screening Part III – Tenant Screening

Verify tenant income and employment

This is the Part III of the my three-part series on tenant screening. Part I is here, and Part II is here.

Step 3: Tenant Screening

Overall, I think there are five ways to verify a tenant:
1. Employment / income verification
2. Credit report
3. Criminal history
4. Eviction report
5. Landlord reference

I have already detailed how to screen a tenant thoroughly in another article, so I am not going to repeat myself. What I want to emphasize here is the reason behind tenant employment and income verification. For this, let me recap a vivid discussion with other property managers on our LinkedIn group. The moral of the discussion is simple: You can never be too careful in verifying tenant employment and income.

Me: “When you screen a tenant, one important thing to consider is employment and income verification. When you do it yourself, you should verify the employer phone number the tenant provides and make sure the paystub is not forged.”

Property Manager 1: “I started also asking for a letter of employment”

Me: “That works. Just make sure that the letter is not forged. I think a better way is to search the employer on Google and find a verifiable number, and then directly call the HR department.”

Property Manager 2: “T4 and last 2-3 months bank statements is working too.”

Me: “This makes sense, but just watch out for fake bank statement. I encountered it once. If you do a simple Google search on “bank statement template”, you can see why it is easy for a tenant to fake one.”

Property Manager 3: “I noticed several ads in Craig’s list for fake check stubs and employment verification services. In addition to the fake stubs they will also provide a number the potential landlord can call. Also, there are several businesses with their own websites independent of Craig’s List offering this service. They also claim that it is legal to use this info. to qualify for a house/apartment. Landlords/property managers beware. I also check the employer out on Google and call the HR department. However, anyone can create a small company and a fake website. In the future I will be backing it up with bank statements.”

Me: “You are absolutely right. It is very difficult for a landlord / property manager to play detective against ever-evolving fraudsters. I think that’s when companies like Tenantify (https://tenantify.com) come in. It not only searches on Google to verify the employer number, but also has the expertise to score the website to ensure it is not faked or hastily put together. Moreover, it uses a bank API to directly pull statement from the tenant bank, which makes forgery nearly impossible.”

Property Manager 3 again: “The bank statement will be followed with a banking form provided by landlord , which has to be completed from the bank ( signed and stamped).”

Me: “I see your way of doing it. I am glad that you are so thoughtful in preventing bank statement fraud. I hope many other landlords and property managers do the same, as you can never be too cautious in screening a tenant.”

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