Rental Basics in Sacramento>Question Details

Phtokat, Renter in Sacramento, CA

Im moving and my perspective new landlord wants to talk with my current landlord to verify rental history. What questions can they ask?

Asked by Phtokat, Sacramento, CA Sat Mar 31, 2012

I want to know if things my landord and I discussed in private can be shared and what questions are old landlord allowed to answer? Is all my information allowed to be told or only yes I paid rent on time and no I never got any pay/quit notices etc

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Ed Favinger’s answer

They can ask your landlord questions like these... and our property management folks will send a "rental applicant reference form" to your old landlord to fill out...

We require you to sign it and authorize us to check you out... the questions are as follows:...

***Move in date... Move out date...

***Did applicant live at your property during the period indicated above ( the dates you told us)...?
in no... from when to when...

***How many times during the past 12 months did applicant pay the rent late...?

***Was any check from Applicant returned due to "non sufficient" funds (NSF)..?

***Did you ever file for an unlawful detainer against Applicant for unpaid rent...?

***Does Applicant owe any amount for delinquent rent, utilities or damage to unit..?

***Did Applicant provide notice for ending tenancny according to the terms of the agreement>>?

***Did you ever serve a "3 day notice" to Applicant...?

and one more...


If you have a pet... I ask folks to bring their pets with them so I can see how well behaved they are...

I hope this helps...

Make it a great day...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 31, 2012
Personally, I don't even ask many questions of your last landlord. The reason? if you were a bad tenant, then that landlord is likely to give you glowing reviews just to get rid of you!!!

In most cases, the new landlord would be expected to ask questions like: did you pay your rent on time, were you ever late? how did you maintain the home? were there ever any issues during your tenancy? They might also just confirm whatever you had listed on your rental application as to the duration of your tenancy and things like that.

I can't imagine the new landlord asking personal questions, and can't imagine what they might care to ask personally except those related to your new rental application.

A landlord can select a tenant based on two criteria: your ability to pay, and your ability to maintain the property in the condition that the landlord expects. That assumes that you did not violate the lease by such things as having loud parties, extra people living there that weren't on the lease or things like that....but again, I never expect the last landlord to be my best reference for you. They have too much at stake on whether you stay at their place or move to mine. Hope that helps.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 31, 2012
Sue... that's always been the conventional wisdom and was taught to us in the college property management class I took... However.. things have changed some and if I have a bad tenant that I want to get rid of... If I get a "rental verification" form like this... I'm not going to lie to another property management company or landlord because I'm assuming they aren't going to lie to me...

We will, after all, get a credit report.. and many times ask for a copy of a bank statement showing you've paid the rent on time...
Flag Sat Mar 31, 2012
I agree with Sue Archer Reynolds regarding the part whereby your previous landlord might sing praises of you should he/she wants to see you moving out even faster. Hence, I do not think it would be of any advantage to your new landlord unless he/she asks general questions only basically. Those questions could include your overall behaviour, default notices and such. It is quite strange that your new landlord actually does that because most of the matters should be confidential from what I know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 19, 2015
I am looking for a new place to live. My present landlord does not like me but I have done nothing wrong. The apt. I moved into got bedbugs about 2 months after I moved into the place. Meanwhile, a month after I moved in a new tenant moved in next to me. He threw out 2 beds before he got the one he has now. And the prior tenant who lived in my apartment traveled a lot. Someone brought in the bedbugs and my landlord has ALWAYS blamed me for doing it because I lived in a motel before. I NEVER had bedbugs in the motel...I would have known it!

Anyway, she still blamed me for the whole problem because I was the 1st tenant to bring up the bedbug issue, even though it turned out that other tenants DID have bedbugs also. So is she allowed to mention this to a new prospective landlord? I do know for a fact that she would love it if I moved out!!!

I NEED AN ANSWER ON THIS ASAP! I live in Ca. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 1, 2014
My land lord told my perspective landlord u could not afford perspective house. This was based on previous payroll. Current payroll is nearly 600%/mo more than previous. I didn't get the house
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
They'll probably ask if you have paid rent on time and what your situation is, why you are moving, etc. People tend to be unpredictable, so talk to your old landlord first!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 2, 2012
New landlord wants any information that helps to make a decision. On time rent being most important, but we care about other issues as well. Did the applicant comply with other terms of lease such as maintaining the property as agreed? If the subject you and old landlord discussed has nothing to do with your desirability (or not) as a tenant, it probably won't come up.

As far as what are they allowed to talk about. 1st amendment in the US constitution says just about anything. On the other hand, there is a narrow list of issues that might violate fair housing laws.

Other than statements that clearly violate fair housing law, I think they can talk about anything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 31, 2012
Are you an attorney? If not, you are in no position to give legal advice or opine on legal issues.
Flag Fri May 22, 2015
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Roseville, CA
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