How To Perform A Landlord Background Check
There are many things you have to look at when trying to rent a new place. Your attention is pulled in many directions. Is it big enough? Is the building nice? Are there any fees or costs I’m forgetting? Are the neighbors good? Should I buy instead? While you’re getting pulled every which way, something you should definitely not forget to ask yourself is: “Who am I renting from?” If you’re committing to spending a significant amount of time living at a place, you should know who you’re dealing with before signing that rental application.
The first and easiest thing you can do is consult the internet. Search them on Google for info, news, and a company website. You can learn about the place and it’s owners and very quickly get an idea of what both are like from this rental background check. Also, check out their social media. You can see how they portray themselves and how they interact with potential or current tenants publically. Find reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, BBB, Yelp, ApartmentGuide.com, etc. and see what other people are saying. It’s important to find real input from real people in the form of reviews. Contributing is just as important. Leave some for others too! Wouldn’t you want some heads up about your potential landlord?
If the place you are moving to has multiple units, try to talk to someone who lives there already and ask about the landlord. You can kill 2 birds with 1 stone here: you get info on the owner and get a gauge on who you could be living by. Strike up some conversation and ask about how the property is kept, how easy it is to get in touch with staff, how well maintenance is handled, how they expect you to pay the rent, and if it’s generally a good place to live. You’ll learn much more talking with the people who live there already. They’ll have NO problem letting someone know if their landlord is good or bad!
Another, more direct strategy is to ask the landlord or leasing agents directly. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions about the place you’re going to live. Even if it’s a hard question they should be able to answer with relative ease and they have to answer truthfully on legal bases. Even if you ask if the place is haunted, they have to tell you! If they are reluctant to or avoid answering important questions about the rental property or how it’s run, that tells you what you need to know about them. It’s a good idea to be prepared with a list of questions to ask them.
Go With Your Gut
Finally, trust your instincts. If you walk into a place and your Spidey Senses start tingling, remember, you don’t HAVE to commit to that place. If it’s too good to be true, (particularly when it comes to real estate), it usually is. If the price is incredulously low for the size of the place, neighborhood, or offered amenities, that’s a red flag. If the landlord dodges questions, that’s a red flag. And if you’re being rushed through the process or the landlord doesn’t check your credit score and states they only take cash… you guessed it.
Getting to know more about your landlord or property manager is just as important as knowing the place itself. It’s all part of the renter’s experience and should be remembered. You could wind up pleasantly surprised at what you find out about your landlord or you could avoid making a HUGE mistake in renting a property from a shady one. Either way, the more educated you are, the more you become a high-quality tenant for a high-quality landlord!