There is a lot to keep in mind when you are vetting a potential tenant or reviewing a rental application. While it can be easy to focus on the information that they present you with on the completed application, it is equally as important to thoroughly sift through the provided information and check to ensure it is all accurate.
The most common concern landlords have when renting out a unit is that the tenant will be unable to pay rent. It can be time consuming and challenging to recoup the lost rental payments. When vetting tenants, many landlords are primarily concerned with the applicant’s employment and income information.
There are several ways that you can verify income. One of the most common ways is to require paystubs from the applicant, proving their income. Unfortunately, this information can be easy to alter or change, in an effort to meet the income requirements. There are a few ways you can spot fake paystubs.
The first way to verify someone’s employment and income is to call the job and confirm they are employed there. While they won’t be able to tell you their employees’ incomes, they will be able to share their job title in many cases. If the job titles provided don’t match up, or the income between the two positions differ greatly, you should investigate further.
When you receive paystubs, you can also look at the general professionalism and clarity of the paystub. Does it look like a paystub that a reputable business would produce? Is it missing any standard information? We recommend checking to confirm that the business name, applicant’s name, and address all match up and are spelled the same way. It can also be a red flag if the paystub doesn’t use one, consistent font with one type size. Does the paystub look clear, or does it look fuzzy with certain pieces of information clearer? Do you see any cut off letters or words? All of these can point to the integrity of the paystub.
At Rincon Property Management, we take things even further to ensure applicants are qualified to rent out a unit and a good fit for our properties. We use a software that allows the applicant to securely share their banking information, and the software can verify their monthly income through their bank. This allows us to make sure that each of our clients know that their property is only being rented out to applicants who are qualified, and that we have done the work behind-the-scenes to verify that all information is correct.
Because fake paystubs aren’t as uncommon as we’d like to think, being able to bypass paystubs altogether has been a game-changer. While there are some helpful tips above to catch fake paystubs, technology makes it easier and easier to change documents without leaving a trace. Although it definitely helps, you won’t always be able to verify whether or not a document is legitimate by simply reviewing it closely.
The software, Findigs, shares that application processing time is not only faster, but it eliminates identity and income fraud during the leasing process. This allows you to ensure that all applicant information is correct, and give you peace-of-mind in the long run.
Although paystubs are the most common concern we see when it comes to verifying the information on rental applications, our software aids in pulling credit scores, which include a full criminal history and eviction report. This helps aid in reducing future issues with tenants if these issues were not reported on the application, or overlooked.
We also ensure our process includes utilizing a landlord verification questionnaire, so that landlords can confirm rental history prior to accepting an applicant as a tenant in one of the properties we manage. We also utilize a different software to screen pets and ensure documentation for emotional support animals or service animals is correct and up-to-date.
How do you (if you self-manage) or your property management company verify the information provided by applicants? It is essential that you take the vetting process of applicants seriously to avoid any issues down the road.