Real Estate Articles



 By Jeffery Taylor  “Mr. Landlord”
One landlord asked a question that many rental property owners wanted to hear the answers:
"When you receive an application, what are the tricks you use to verify truthfulness without even doing credit check?"

The following are 10 of the top answers shared by several landlords. While you may already do several of these tricks, a few of them you may not have heard before. Scan Facebook and see if their page has any red flags that you need to investigate further. As one landlord puts it - Facebook Stalking.

  • Pull up their current address on the county tax assessor's website to see if the name they have given as their current landlord is actually their landlord.
  • Many states allow a free court records check. I check my state and in the next state over, as we have a lot of people moving back and forth.
  • Ask for their work supervisor's phone number, but I never call the number they give me. Instead I look up the company and call that number, and ask for the name of their supervisor.
  • I call the landlord listed on the application, but change the number of children and/or pets count. This trips up the person listed as the landlord's phone number who may just be a friend posing as the landlord who is ready to respond positively to whatever you ask. In the same way, you can simply ask do you have the yellow house for rent?
  • Always get license plate info on the app. When using the website public data, you can enter the plate number. There is a box that comes up to click on that shows others at this address. A few weeks ago I did this and found that landlord lives at the same address. Did a drive by and sure enough, the landlord and tenant's vehicles at the same place.

  • Ask for copy of a utility bill along with pay stubs, driver's license, etc. Current utility bills should be the most accurate. 

  • Google or Facebook the number listed as the current landlord and see what comes up. 

  • Ask the applicant to bring a copy of their current lease.
  • Check their page to see if their employment info is posted.
After using some of the tricks above to verify information on the application, always run a credit check. It remains one of the absolute best ways to verify if someone has a good or bad track record paying bills. Plus credit reports can also offer additional information, including past addresses, other used aliases, whether the social security of date of  birth matches the application information, a listing of creditors, and much more! This is all vital and helpful information. Check with your local associations for where you can run inexpensive tenant credit reports for as low as $9.95 like the one found on

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