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Legal questions/answers when calling employers/LLs - Landlord Forum thread 218842

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Legal questions/answers when calling employers/LLs by Anonymous on March 7, 2011 @15:24

I am finally doing things the "right way", including verifying employment and previous tenancy. I did some research on appropriate questions to ask (used a previous LL form). One landlord was more than forthcoming - even gave me advice/ideas that he uses. Another was taken aback just at my asking how much the rent was (like it was none of my business) and proceeded to quiz me. Also, when calling employers, in addition to verifying length of employment, position and salary, I asked if they felt this person was a responsible employee. One answered readily, the other said he can only answer certain questions, but did in the end assure me applicant was good. It just got me worrying, even though the applicants gave signed permission to check these references, how careful do we have to be about exactly what questions we can ask? Are there any legal implications on our side and do they vary legally from state to state...or are the employers the only ones legally held to what they can or can't answer? Info on the internet is all over the place on this issue. I know they are actually 2 separate issues - LL and employer. Love to hear opinions/experiences...thanks!
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Re: Legal questions/answers when calling employers/LLs by Eric (MN) on March 7, 2011 @16:05 [ Reply ]
You can ask anything. Telling information is where the legal issues may lie. Telling you if the employee is responsible is probably illegal.

I let a third party do the checks for me. It costs me $10 to do landlord and employer checks. You are better off relying on pay stubs and credit scores than calling around to employers. All you need to know from employer checks is amount the people make, which an employer will not tell you and length on the job. Do they have stable employment? Do they have a career or a job?

My service calls past landlords, via the property records from the credit report. Calling past landlords is always worth the effort, but do not rely on the most recent landlord. When a tenant that I do not care for wants to leave, I generally give a decent reference. I let my service do those checks. Ask the previous landlords if they would re-rent, did they give the deposit back, did the tenants give proper notice, did they pay late. If a tenant had more than two addresses in five years, itís a red flag.

So, skip employer checks, and call past landlords. Landlords are worthwhile for you to check, especially previous to the current one, if you have to do it your self. Employers usually do not say anything that is worthwhile. Calling banks is even more fruitless than employers.

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