Q: I have a policy of always talking to an applicant’s current landlord. But an applicant whom I’ll call Sue has asked me not to call her landlord. She is afraid that if the owner learns she is looking, he will terminate her tenancy. Sue says she’s leaving because this guy is a terrible landlord. I don’t want to make things worse for her — what if I call, he terminates, and I don’t end up renting to Sue? But I hesitate to not check it out — what if she’s putting me on? Any suggestions? –Weidon B.

A: You’re in a tricky spot. Many landlords will do just as Sue fears, apart from whether they are bad landlords or not. Upon learning that a tenant is about to leave, they’ll terminate, especially if the rental market is seasonal and they want to take advantage of a good window.

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