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You are reading: Questions to Ask When You’re Verifying Employment for Renters

May 14, 2024

Questions to Ask When You’re Verifying Employment for Renters

Noah Goldman
Chief Operating Officer

In the complex dance of renting out your properties, one vital step is verifying the employment of prospective tenants.

It’s not just about ensuring a steady income stream—it’s also about evaluating their stability and responsibility. In this post, we highlight why asking the right questions during this process can make all the difference in finding dependable renters who will treat your property carefully and pay their rent on time.

Questions to Ask a Tenant’s Employer

Verifying employment is an essential part of the tenant screening process. It helps you assess the financial stability, reliability, and suitability of applicants.

Starting the Call

To get the ball rolling, it’s important to first and foremost identify yourself. For example, you can start the call by stating, “Hello, this is [Your Name] from [Your Property Management Company/Your Name if Landlord]. I’m calling to verify the employment history of one of your employees who has applied to rent one of our properties.”

Be sure to provide context for your call. Explain that you take tenant screening seriously to ensure the well-being of your properties and the satisfaction of your renters. As part of your due diligence, you routinely verify employment information provided by applicants.

Also, always confirm the contact – and seek consent – so make sure you are speaking with the appropriate contact person for employment verification.

Goal of Your Questions

By verifying employment details, you can confirm a prospect’s financial stability. Keep in mind: ensuring that renters have a steady income stream from stable employment helps you better assess their ability to afford rent and other financial obligations associated with the rental property.

These questions can also shed light on an applicant’s level of reliability and mitigate risk. For example, consistent employment and positive employer feedback can indicate a responsible tenant who is more likely to fulfill their rental obligations, including paying rent on time and maintaining the property.

In addition, by verifying employment details, you can discover any red flags, like frequent job changes, employment gaps, or impending layoffs, that could threaten the applicant’s ability to meet rental payments.

Sample Questions to Ask

·   What is the potential renter’s current employment status? Confirm whether the applicant is currently employed, unemployed, self-employed, or a student.

·   Can you confirm the applicant’s job title and responsibilities? Ask about the specifics of the tenant’s role at their workplace. This can provide additional insight into their level of seniority, stability within the company, and earning potential.

·   How long has the prospective renter been employed at their current job? Longevity in a job is often a helpful indicator of stability and reliability.

·   What is the applicant’s monthly income? Knowing the potential renter’s income is crucial for gauging their ability to pay rent. Ask for documentation like recent pay stubs or income tax returns to verify their stated income.

·   Is the income consistent and reliable? Inquire about the applicant’s income process. For instance, are they paid on a regular schedule? Do they expect any changes in their income in the near future?

·   Does the employer foresee any changes to the applicant’s employment status? Anticipating potential changes in the tenant’s employment status can help you evaluate the risk of rental default. Ask if they know of any impending layoffs, company restructurings, or other factors that could impact the prospect’s job security.

·   Does the potential tenant have a decent attendance record? Reliability and responsibility go beyond financial stability. Ask about their attendance record and punctuality at work. Tardiness or absenteeism can raise concerns.

·   Is the applicant subject to any probationary period or contract terms? Some employees may be on probationary periods or have contract terms that affect their employment stability. Inquire about such conditions to assess the applicant’s long-term suitability as a tenant.

·   Can the employer provide a reference for the applicant? A reference from the applicant’s employer can uncover valuable insights into their character, work ethic and trustworthiness.

·   Is there any additional information about the applicant’s employment that you think is relevant? Last but not least, give the employer a chance to share any additional details they deem relevant to the applicant’s employment status. They may provide insights that can help you make a more educated decision.

What Questions Should You Not Ask? What Is Off Limits?

Property managers and landlords should never ask questions about a prospective renter’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, or any other protected characteristic under fair housing laws. This includes questions about marital status, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or age.

It’s also recommended that you avoid asking about their family situation, such as whether they have children or plan to have them. This question can be perceived as discriminatory and is prohibited under fair housing laws.

You should also never ask questions about a potential tenant’s physical or mental health, medical history, disabilities, or use of medications. These questions also violate fair housing laws that protect individuals from discrimination based on disability.

What else is off the table? You should also avoid asking employers questions about…

  • Military service
  • National origin or citizenship
  • Religious affiliation
  • Gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Marital status

FAQs

What Is Tenant Employment Verification?

Verifying employment is an essential step in the tenant screening process, helping landlords assess the financial stability, reliability, and suitability of potential renters. By asking the right questions and obtaining thorough documentation, you can reduce risks and find renters who will treat your property carefully and respect your rental obligations.

Do I Need Permission to Call A Tenant’s Employer?

When calling an applicant’s employer, always confirm that you have their authorization to proceed with this verification.

When Should I Call Employers?

Calling employers to verify tenant employment typically occurs before finalizing rental agreements. This step allows you to confirm the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant and make informed decisions about renting the property.

Do Employers Have to Answer My Questions?

Employers are not legally obligated to answer all questions posed by landlords when verifying employment for an applicant. However, many employers are willing to provide basic employment verification information within legal bounds as a courtesy to help in the rental process.

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