What Is Rental History Verification? How Do Landlords Verify Rental History

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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Landlords conduct various checks and verifications to ensure that their prospective tenants are trustworthy and responsible.

They conduct credit checks, rental history verification, and eviction history verification to make sure that the tenants pay rent on time, and have a good rental track record. 

Rental history verification is one of the important procedures that tenants have to go through.

Most tenants are unaware of the process and do not cooperate with the landlord, which raises red flags. To glide through the process effortlessly, it is significant to know what rental history verification is and how it is done. 

What is rental history Verification? 

Rental history verification, as the name suggests, is the verification of the person’s track record as a tenant.

The process helps your prospective landlord to get insights into various aspects such as whether you pay rent on time, how you take care of the property, your general behavior with the landlord and neighbors, etc. 

Generally, rental history verification includes a background check and verification phone calls to your previous landlords. 

  • Background check – The background check involves searching the rental history database to verify the information provided in the application form. However, most landlords do not entirely depend on rental databases because the data can be flawed and does not provide a clear picture. 
  • Verification phone calls – Verification phone calls are the second step in the process of rental history verification. During verification phone calls, your prospective landlord will call your current and previous landlords to get a review of your rental history. 

What does a rental verification include?

Now that you know what rental history verification is, here are the crucial steps in the process.

Understanding these steps will help you to provide accurate details in the rental application and be selected to live in the house of your choice. 

  • Filling in the application form with the necessary details – The landlord will inform you that the rental history verification is mandatory to move further in the application process. You will be asked to provide information about your three previous rental addresses along with the landlords’ or property managers’ contact information. 

You have to be careful while filling in the details. Give the correct address, contact numbers and other information. If there are any gaps in your tenancy, mention the reasons for these gaps. 

  •  Giving consent to share the rental history –  The landlord will ask you to sign a rental history release agreement. This agreement is a legal document, which is necessary to obtain your rental history information. If you do not want to share your rental history, you can refuse to sign the agreement. However, landlords prefer tenants who are willing to share their rental history. 
  • Review of the application – Your prospective landlord will review your application and go through your rental history. They may ask you to provide further details that you might have left out while filling in the application form. For example, if there are any gaps in your tenancy record, the landlord will ask you for the reasons for the gap. 
  • Landlord reference check – After scrutinizing your application, the landlord will conduct a reference check by calling your present and previous landlords. During the conversation, the landlord can ask several questions such as your behavior with the neighbors, relationship with the landlord, rent payment record, maintenance of the unit, etc. 
  • Eviction history check – The landlord will also want to know your eviction history before letting out their property. The eviction process is very expensive and time-consuming and landlords prefer to avoid it at any cost. However, if you have faced eviction, it is crucial to let your prospective landlord know about it beforehand along with the reasons for the eviction. 

Rental history verification is a critical part of the rental application screening.

It is crucial to provide the complete details of your rental history in the application and share truthful information about gaps in tenancy and evictions with your prospective landlord to build trust and rapport. 

How far back do they check rental history?

Landlords usually ask you to provide details of 3 previous addresses along with your current rental address. Generally, landlords and property agents check your rental history for the past 5 to 7 years. 

How can I see my rental history?

Most of us are aware of how to pull out our credit score reports but are clueless about the rental history report. A rental history report contains detailed information on your track record as a tenant. It includes 

  1. Past rental addresses
  2. The tenure of your stay along with the start and end dates of the tenancy
  3. Rent payment records
  4. The contact information of your previous landlords or property managers
  5.  Information of any damages or court cases
  6. Eviction records

The rental history report is a key document for renting or buying a property.

Most banks review your rental history before approving mortgages. It is crucial to see your rental history to know what your prospective landlords or lenders are seeing about you.

It will help you to identify problematic issues and address them. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles all consumers to get free copies of various reports including the credit history and rental history reports. You can get a copy of your rental history report from any agency that prepares credit and rental history reports. To see the exact same report your prospective landlord is viewing, you can find out the agency they are working with and request the report from them. 

Once you get the report, review it closely to spot any discrepancies. If there is any inaccurate information such as wrong addresses, incorrect landlord names or contact information, inaccurate tenancy dates, etc., you can file a dispute with the report generating agency. 

How do you get around a bad rental history?

Bad rental history is no reason to fret. There are many ways to get around a bad rental history and improve your chances of renting a great property. 

  • Offer to pay a higher security deposit – Most landlords are flexible while fixing the security deposits. While tenants with a good rental history can get away with a lower security deposit, those with a bad rental history will have to pay more. Offering the landlord to pay a higher amount in security deposit will give him the confidence to let out the property. 
  • Offer to pay higher rent – If you are not willing to pay a higher security deposit, you can offer to pay higher rent. Most landlords are willing to overlook a little negative remark in your rental history if you pay higher rent. However, it may not work if you have a really bad rental history. 
  • Provide good references  – References can go a long way to prove your credentials. If you had a problem with your previous landlord and are sure he won’t speak in your favor, counter him with some good references who can vouch for you. Provide credibly and trusted references, who can give positive feedback. 
  • Reveal any information upfront – Building trust with the prospective landlord is crucial to passing the tenant scrutiny process. If there are certain instances such as pending dues, court cases, etc. discuss the issue with your prospective landlord and show him valid reasons for the situation. 
  • Solve any issues with your previous landlords – If there are any bad remarks in your rental history, it is advisable to speak to your previous landlords to sort out the issues and erase the bad remarks. You can offer to clear the outstanding amounts, pay for the repairs, or find an amicable solution to solve other issues.  
  • Get a roommate – A roommate with a good credit score and rental history is a great bet to offset your bad rental history. Finding a roommate will also lighten your financial burden in terms of rent, utility bills, and maintenance.  
  • Find a cosignerA landlord might consider renting out his property if you have a cosigner with a good credit score. The co-signer does not live with you but agrees to take over the rental payments if you fail to pay them. 

Can you fake rental history?

It is difficult to fake a rental history as landlords are very careful while verifying the rental history of their prospective tenants.

However, if your relationship with the current landlord is not so good and you are sure to get negative feedback, you can ask your friend, relative, or colleague to pretend to be your landlord and provide a positive review.

You can also use the services of online agencies that provide fake landlord reference services. 

Rental history is an important factor considered by landlords to screen tenants.

The rental history provides insights into your track record as a tenant and aids the landlord to know about issues such as late rent payments, evictions, your general behavior towards neighbors and previous landlords, and how you look after the rental property.

It is significant to have a clean rental history to be able to rent the apartment or house of your choice.