Question: In a recent column you said that an apartment landlord has the right to ask former landlords if the tenant had any problems, such as late rent payments or damage to the apartment. We own an apartment building in Chandler and frequently get calls from landlords about one of our former tenants. Do we have any liability to our former tenant if the information disclosed to the new landlord is wrong, and our former tenant is unable to rent the apartment?
Answer: If you incorrectly communicated the tenant’s rental history to the new landlord, and your former tenant was unable to rent the apartment, your former tenant could have a claim against you for damages. In general, those damages would be minimal unless the tenant could show not only that you were wrong, but also that the tenant was unable to rent another apartment quickly.