When you’re filling out a rental application, you’ll almost always be asked to list an emergency contact. On some applications, you may be asked to write down as many as three names and phone numbers. Who do you put down? Your parents? Another family member? A friend? A co-worker?
The biggest question is which family member or friend would be your best emergency contact. Many renters simply list their parents, regardless if they’re still living in the same city as them. While it’s important to be sure that your family can easily be notified in case of an emergency, since in most situations they’re the ones who can make decisions about issues like medical care, it’s also important to choose a contact who is close enough to help out immediately. If, for instance, your emergency contact had to actually come and get you for some reason, it would help if he or she was in the same city. In the event that you do choose an out-of-town emergency contact, it may be wise to add a secondary point of contact who is local.
These days, it’s also important to make sure that your landlord has the best phone number and other contact information for any person you would want called in the event of an emergency. If something serious happened at night, but your landlord only had your contact’s work number, there’s very little he could do. A cell phone may be the best bet, but putting down multiple phone numbers may also be a good idea. If you have the option of putting down multiple emergency contacts, that can also improve your chances of getting a response if something serious was to happen.
One of the reasons that a landlord will ask for at least one emergency contact has nothing to do with having someone to call if you get hurt. In the event a tenant skips out on a lease, a landlord will often use his or her emergency contacts to track down that tenant. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that your emergency contacts’ phone numbers are correct. Some landlords will call them as a test, almost like a second reference check. This shouldn’t be a problem for a good tenant, however, and your landlord’s ability to get in touch with your family or friends in case something happens is very important.