What is a landlord verification form?

A landlord verification form is a document used to confirm the identity and rental history of a prospective tenant.

Typically, these forms are requested by landlords or property management agencies as part of the tenant screening process (coming after the rental application form).

Once the form has been completed by the tenant, the verification process can begin.

Landlords or property managers may first run an automated background check to verify the details are correct.

Often, however, they must rely on manually contacting the prospective tenant’s current and former landlords to double-check their findings.

Read on to learn more and what all this means for you, whether you’re a prospective tenant, landlord, or agent.

What is a landlord verification form?

For landlords, a verification form is a vital tool for selecting good tenants.

For a prospective tenant, receiving a verification letter from a landlord represents a big step toward the signing of a tenancy agreement and actually moving into the property.

It also involves the sharing of personal details, and as such, it’s important that landlords ask for the correct tenant information in the first instance.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • The full legal name(s) of the prospective tenant(s) and their contact details
  • Any co-signers or additional occupants
  • Current address and landlord/agency contact details
  • Past addresses and previous landlord/agency contact details
  • Personal employment and income
  • Name of guarantor and contact details (if applicable)
  • Any outstanding debts or additional issues
  • Signature of the tenant(s) and the date signed.

What is the purpose of a landlord verification form?

By now, you should have a good understanding of what a verification form is, but you might still be in the dark about its purpose.

For instance, why do landlords ask for this information, and what does rental verification mean for a prospective tenant?

Verification forms exist for the simple reason that potential tenants may lie about their rental history.

This means a landlord may accidentally select a tenant who looks great on paper but, in reality, is far different from the person they described themselves as being.

Landlords are already taking a risk in renting out their real estate to others.

Landlords and property managers use verification forms to ensure they’re renting to responsible, reliable tenants who will pay on time and take good care of the property. 

For this reason, the verification process particularly focuses on discovering past issues like evictions, defaulted payments, or property damage.

What does a rental verification form look like?

A rental verification form looks just like any other formal document, and these days, they’re usually offered in either print or digital format.

The document is usually split into subheadings, with content that’s concise, legally sound, and easy to understand for both parties.

Rental history is a private matter for any tenant, and as such, you must obtain consent before contacting a tenant’s previous landlord.

For this reason, it should include a terms & conditions section.

Another consideration is to explain the process as you go.

For instance, you might detail the step-by-step process of how an IRS credit check or social security verification works and its relevance to the screening process.

At the bottom of the page should be an empty field for the prospective tenant to write their signature and the date. These signal consent for the tenant verification process to begin.

How do landlords check rental history?

Verification forms exist to confirm the account of an applicant’s rental history against the experiences of a tenant’s previous landlord.

But how is rental history verified?

Manual processes

The simplest method is to reach out directly to a tenant’s former landlord or letting agency.

Once consent has been given, landlords can use the contact information (like a phone number) to request details on the tenant.

Make sure to ask about rental payments, property damage, and unresolved disputes.

Landlords should cross-reference the information provided by both parties to ensure you have an accurate understanding of the previous rental situation. 

After all, landlords reluctant to see their tenants leave may also lie if you probe them for answers to your questions.

As a landlord or letting agency, you must take an unbiased approach toward tenant applications.

Automated processes

Once the manual verification is complete, landlords may also want to run some automatic background checks.

Common processes include criminal record checks, social security verifications, and debt inquiries.

Does rental history show up on my credit report?

Most credit reports don’t contain information on rent payment history.

This is because landlords and letting agencies are not considered to be creditors, so payments are not reported to the IRS.

However, you should note that in extreme cases, where rent payments have been missed repeatedly, a disgruntled landlord may choose to report this information. 

How do landlords verify income?

Income is an important consideration when determining the eligibility of a tenant’s application.

Landlords and letting agencies may ask you for payslips, bank statements, or tax returns to prove you earn what you claim. 

Likewise, they may ask for a letter directly from your employer.

An alternative option for landlords is to use an online service to automatically check a tenant’s credit and income data.

What documents do landlords ask for?

Landlords require several documents before a tenant can move in.

First is the rental application, wherein the applicant makes an offer on the rent amount (typically as monthly rent), along with their personal information. 

Usually, landlords request proof of income and a copy of a government-issued ID like a passport or driver’s license.

Landlords will then request details on a prospective tenant’s rental history, as outlined above.

Ease rental applications with landlord verification

The rental verification process doesn’t have to be a headache.

By using an informative and well-signposted form, renters can easily identify the information that is required and the processes for which it will be used.

This ensures timely progress toward the signing of documentation and the eventual moving-in.

Once you’ve completed the rent verification process, you can use PandaDoc’s simple one page lease agreement template to finalize the terms, obtain the security deposit, and make the contract official.