How to Spot an Applicants Fake Landlord References

During the years that you own rental properties in San Diego, Phoenix, or Los Angeles, you may encounter one or more tenants who include fake landlord references on their application.

Sadly, thanks to the Internet, anyone can create a fake landlord reference in minutes especially if they have access to a VOIP phone number or some other tech skills.

If you think one or more of your applicants may have submitted a fake landlord reference, this article will provide you with tips on how to handle them.

Tip #1 – Think Like A Detective

The first thing to do when a prospective tenant has potentially included fake rental references on their application is to call the phone numbers that they’ve listed and act like someone who is interested in renting a property.

Following through with this tip is important because the majority of fake landlord references will not be prepared to take your phone call since they will not be expecting a renter to call and their façade will fall apart when they don’t know how to respond.

Tip #2 – Investigate the Fake Landlord Online

Thanks to online tools, you can easily research a fake landlord in minutes by doing a reverse phone number lookup and cross-check the phone number against the landlord’s name online. If the phone number checks out, the good news is that you have a real landlord reference but if there’s no listing for the phone number online then this is a good sign that it’s a bogus phone number.

Tip #3 – Ask Poignant Questions

When you are on the phone with an applicant’s potential landlord references, you should always ask poignant questions that every landlord will be ready to answer like: did they pay their rent on time, cause trouble, or communicate well with you? If the landlord can’t answer these questions in detail then the odds are that the individual is not really a landlord.

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