Monday, October 31, 2011

Renter Screening Advice from a Private Investigator's Perspective

A friend of mine recently decided to rent out his home and he asked me what information he should consider looking for a renter.  I gave him some quick suggestions in a text and carried on with my day.  I thought about it more the following morning. It occurred to me it was an important topic to explore.  The previous article I posted regarding free searches is a great place to being your screening when looking for potential tenants. 
Important information for future tenants may be the following (but not limited to):
1.)    Credit report
2.)    Landlord referrals
3.)    Employment verification
4.)    Criminal record
5.)    Previous evictions
6.)    Social Media (Facebook, Myspace)
7.)    The accuracy of information provided on an application
8.)    Pets
9,)   Residence History

The more you know about your tenants, the better you will feel with them renting your home.

There are many existing website services that are more than capable of taking care of your needs with tenant screening. These services can cost anywhere between 20 dollars and 40 dollars per person screened.  While these are very useful, it might be in your best interest to screen the tenants as much as possible before doing final checks. Doing this will save you some money.
Credit reports can be done by you, however you need the prospective tenant to agree to it in writing as well as indicating  what the credit report is for.  You could also have a company like do it for you.

Landlord referrals are a great way to determine the type of tenant someone might be.  However take what they say at face value.  Positive feedback from a previous landlord does not indicate the tenant will be good for you.

Conduct employment verification.  You need to make sure your tenants have money coming in to pay the rent. 

Criminal records should also be checked not only for yourself but your neighbors.  Check court records online in the counties an applicant has lived in.  In Washington State I search names at  Previous evictions would also be found in court records along with Bankruptcies.

SOCIAL MEDIA- I can’t say it enough.  Search social media.  There is always something to be learned about the character of an individual in social media. 

Residence History is important as this may determine whether someone has a history of staying in places for a short time.  If you are looking for a long term lease, someone with a stable residence history might be the right tenant for you.

I do not claim to be an expert landlord but I felt these were some helpful suggestions if you plan on renting your home future. 
Some other companies I located that appeared to be one stop shops for tenant screening were the following:
1.)    E-Renter
2.)    Tenant Verification Services
3.)    Land Lord Station

I cannot vouch for these services nor do I endorse them.  They are listed to show the varying services that are out there to help you.  Also search for Landlord and Tenant laws in your state to stay informed of your rights as well as your tenants rights. 

As always you can find more information about me at Fortified Investigative Services

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