A Property Manager’s Journal of Chilling Stories

In this day and age, if you are in the Property Management profession you better know whom you are renting to. With over 25 years of experience in this industry we at Park Place Asset Management go the extra mile like never before. I suggest that you pre-qualify your applicants and tell them that you run an extensive investigative background check and will need to verify all information that comes up on the individual reports in addition to attaching your Rental Criteria to each application.

Recently we had an applicant at one of our properties who looked pretty good on paper, made good money, had been on the job a good amount of time, and listed a current and a previous rental reference on the application.

First things first, we ran his credit report through CIC and noticed two other current addresses that came up on the report that he didn’t list on the application. We asked about the two additional addresses. One address we were told he never lived at and the other was his aunt’s house where he said he only received his mail. How many times have you been told that?

Because we never take anything at face value, we asked the applicant to provide us with the proof of residency or we would not be able to proceed with the application. Then he remembered! Yes he did live there and gave us a person’s name and number who worked at the apartment community. We called the number he provided to us and the person who answered the phone gave her name and the apartment community’s name. Low and behold, she also gave a glowing reference and couldn’t say enough good things, over selling him.

We then Googled the apartment community and the website listed a completely different phone number, so we called that number and asked for the person who we just spoke with, and were told no one worked there by that name. We then asked if our applicant was a resident there and if we could get a rental reference. They said he did live there, required us to fax them the signed release and they would fax the information back. In most cases this should be the normal response.

Not only did we find out that the applicant lied to us and gave us a contact who was probably a friend or relative, but the current landlord found out they may have a possible skip. This whole process took less than 20 minutes and probably saved us thousands of dollars in lost rent, legal fees, turn-over costs, advertising etc.

I talk to Managers all day long about going the extra mile and to never assume that you are being told everything. Just because someone makes good money doesn’t mean they pay their rent. We have the resources to help us make smart and informed decisions when accepting or declining applications. Watch out for those red flags! We have to stay one step ahead of the game.

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Guest Post by Mary Stewart, Park Place Asset Management, Walnut Creek, CA.


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