How can a landlord reliably check out a potential rentor? If you ask for s
reference what's stopping them from having a friend say they are a previous
landlord and giving them a good recomendation? I know of no way to verify
that person's phone call.
I am asking because my last tenant wrecked the rental and I'd prefer this
not happen again.
Of course I should inspect but I'd never had a bad tenant before and it
didn't occur to me.
You know it's time to clean the refrigerator
when something closes the door from the inside.
The people I know do a criminal background check and a credit check
along with whatever they can find on social media. I think there is a
service out there that will do all of this for you if you want.
On Sat, 14 May 2016 07:51:46 -0700, Taxed and Spent wrote:
One of my best tenants was a felon. Never missed a payment, no damage,
no hassles, gave proper notice before move.
I have been using mysmartmove.com for a number of years and require the
tenant to pay for the reports on the website. So, I don't have to handle
money, all I get is the reports. Many bad tenants will not even go thru
screening because they know they won't get thru it.
Note: I'm currently looking for another screening service because
mysmartmove has started using cloudflare website security. I absolutely
do not want cloudflare running scripts on my machine -- their behavior is
simply too borked up.
If you find a decent, non-cloudflare site, post it please.
As an individual it may be difficult. Realtors that handle rentals do
that as a part of theirs service. Worth the fee? I guess it depends
on how "hands on" you are and want to be.
There are web sites that do background checks and provide information,
but I have no idea how reputable they are.
What do you mean, "verify the call"? You can verify *who* they called
but, I suspect, you want to k now if that person was actually a
[I suppose you could ask for their name, check with phone records and then
check that they are the legal owner of the property in question]
How much do you want to spend for that "assurance" (play on "insurance")?
There are firms that will do a comprehensive background check -- but it can
run to hundreds of dollars.
Firms like Intellius can probably give you a list of recent addresses
(to corroborate the applicants alleged rental history).
Sex offenders are usually easily identified via public databases
(there are even web sites that you could exploit, given their
There's a site that posts "mug shots" that you can search for any
(recent) criminal record -- along with the charges, etc.
Photos of the property *just* before (and just after) they take occupancy.
Ideally, do this with them present so they see that you're making a record
AND it gives them an opportunity to draw your (and your camera!) attention
to things that they think should be recorded. Expect to confiscate their
security deposit if not in comparable condition (*hire* someone to clean
it up so if they later drag you into court and claim "$800 is excessive
to clean up the mess" you can point to the photos and the receipt from
the cleaning crew)
It's also usually prudent to do a walkthrough once a year just to get
an idea of how the property is being treated. And, can't hurt to
reflect your happiness with that condition in your proposed rent
increase (if people feel like you're screwing them -- "Hell, we've
not bothered you in the past year and inflation is flat so why do you
feel you should increase the rent 10%??" -- then they tend to be
much quicker to rationalize screwing *you* in return. And, you've
got a helluvalot more skin in the game than they do!)
hiring a PI or someone with access to a database which will display past
addresses, along with other personal info. You can find those addresses
and determine home or apt. Then you can search the county record of
deeds to find owners of such addresses. Then you can contact the owners
There are several sites online which claim to offer much info and past
residence for a fee, but I'm unaware of their legitimacy and accuracy. I
do think some may be fairly accurate since I have compared their brief
provided info to what I actually know.
The number one thing you can do to protect yourself is to go to the
courthouse and check the court clerk's office and run their names
through the civil and criminal indices. Doing this as an individual
doing it for yourself relieves you of some of the stupid restrictions
the states and feds place upon you via the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
We find that most of the problem tenants move around a given area and
screw over one landlord as they look for a new place to live and keep
repeating the cycle generally staying in the same jurisdiction - but not
If you have a tenant that was living the next town over, etc. if he was
evicted or sued for non-payment of rent, arrested for drug
use/possession/distribution, or just a lousy record of not paying bills,
bouncing checks, you will find it when you search. If they are coming
in from another county, you can still call that court and either find
out what record may exist (for a fee usually) or drive there yourself.
Regardless, it's always a good idea to have the prospective tenant(s)
sign a release allowing you to run credit, criminal history, etc.
checks. You don't need, you won't use it, but if there's any hesitation
on the part of the prospective tenant(s) you don't want them.
If you find numerous small claims cases against them, etc. You don't
If they've been evicted - you don't want them.
If they're dopers, fighters, burglars, shoplifters, bad check artists,
guess what. You're ahead of the game leaving the property vacant.
On Sat, 14 May 2016 16:27:42 -0500, Unquestionably Confused
Still stuck in the 80s huh? Now days that is all on line in most
Start with the county sheriff/police and you can see if they were ever
arrested, then go to the court site and see if they were ever charged
with anything, if there are any law suits on record, liens or anything
else that involves the court. You can also find bankruptcies,
divorces, marriages and judgements.
All from the comfort of your La Z Boy
and then there is stuff like this:
And Obama says since blacks are highly represented in the criminal
category, denying rental to criminals is a civil rights violation. Or
some such nonsense.
You can send a report about late payments to credit agencies or even
on time payments but it usually costs money from the creditor.
you can certainly report someone who is delinquent, long before you
ever go to court.
These guys are soliciting landlords to check out renters.
On 5/15/2016 11:01 PM, email@example.com wrote:
You talk a good game gfretwell but you may wish to get up and out of
your easy chair and actually try practicing what you preach. It's not
that simple. There are fifty states and, thus, fifty variations (more
or less) on what is accessible and how it is accessed.
There are no right or wrong answers simply because there are too many
variables in play in this sort of thing. Credit bureaus may pick up
evictions in one county and not in another simply due to size, the
courts system itself and access, or. . .
What the hell, you're probably correct though. What do I know as I've
only been involved with this stuff since the mid-70's. As for being in
the dark ages, I'd wager I have access to databases (at a hefty monthly
cost) that would surprise even an expert like you. ;)
Bottom line to OP: Do as I suggested and you'll avoid probably 80%-90%
of the risk involved in renting.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.