Why is my employer contacted during the rental application process?
Depending on the application, you may be asked if it is OK for the rental agent to contact your employer. Why would a landlord want to contact your employer?
Let's think about this. With your rental application, you are asked to provide all sorts of information - proof of identification, recent pay stubs, and possibly income tax returns. With all of this information, is there any reason for an employer to be contacted? Absolutely! When screening to find a good tenant, the rental agent (on behalf of the property owner) wants to get a warm, fuzzy feeling that you are the best possible candidate for the property you hope to rent. They do this by examining as much information as they can about you. This includes your credit history, background information, and your rental history. But think about it - ultimately, they want to know that you are a good financial risk. If there's a chance that you won't pay your rent, do you think they want to rent to you? Not quite! Just because you have recent paystubs and previous years tax returns, that doesn't prove to the rental agent that you are currently employed. By contacting your employer, they are able to make sure that you are a current employee of the business where you claim to work. During the call, they will most likely also verify your current income and the length of time you have worked with them. Someone that has worked with a company for several years probably looks like a better candidate than someone that just started two weeks ago.
Here's something else to note. A good rental agent may not just use the phone number for the employer that you provide. They may do some searching on their own for the phone -number of the business. Prospective tenants, especially those that are desperate, have been known to give a fake phone number!
If you are trying to have everything ready to go in advance of filling out a rental application, consider asking your employer to provide you with a letter (on company stationery) stating that you are currently employed, your job title, the length of time of your employment, and your current salary. If there is a human resources department, they should be familiar with this request. If you work for a small business, talk with your manager.
Remember, the purpose of the rental application process is to establish for the owner that you are a good candidate for the rental of their property. Verifying your employment and salary are necessary steps for making them feel confident that you are able to pay your rent!
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