Resident Screening: The Lost Art of the Reference Check

October 11, 2023


Rent Manager

Person checking off a form on a computer

Here’s the scenario:  John Smith just applied to live at your property. It’s time to conduct a reference check to decide if you want him as a resident. You have just one question to answer. Does John pay his rent?

Your screening software has informed you that John pays his credit card bills and has no criminal record. You ran John’s information through an ID verification, income, and eviction tool to confirm his identity and ability to pay rent. No eviction judgments have been made against him in court. Your screening process requires a decision, but unfortunately, you still haven’t answered your question.

Tips for a Successful Reference Check

Fortunately for you, a successful reference check can help. Other landlords and property managers have this information and they’re willing to share it with you—but you have to make the effort. For most, obtaining a reference check can be time-consuming, often unsuccessful, and prone to fraud. Here are a few tips to maximize your chances for a quick, successful reference check:

1. Be persistent. On average, a successful reference check requires six to eight communication touchpoints. Rarely can you receive the data you need with just one phone call. If you want references for more than 10% of your applicants, you will need a proven process that works for you and your team.

2. Remove friction. Make sure your reference form is thoughtful and succinct. The fewer clicks, fields, steps, or words included in the form, the better. Any perceived barrier to providing information will result in fewer references and longer turnaround times.

3. Support omni-channel communications. You may have to contact landlords and property managers at massive institutions or mom-and-pop operations. They may use mobile devices or labyrinthine phone directories and prefer a two-minute conversation versus an online form. So be flexible with them. Contact them in the most accessible way, and support what works best for them.

Fraud Prevention Tool

Prospects want to live at your property—even those who don’t pay their rent. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust information you find on the Internet and references are no exception. You are susceptible to fraud at every stage of the reference process.

However, with the right process and data, you can mitigate the vast majority of fraud incidents. To date, Trigo’s efforts have resulted in six-figure savings for customers using our rent data and reference checks!


Reference checks aren’t easy. We’d love to help you with yours! Using Trigo’s integration with Rent Manager, you can submit a prospect with the click of a button. Your time is better spent driving more revenue for your business. Let us tell you if John pays his rent.

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