Aug 20, 2019 MicroBilt News
The perks of being a landlord can be far more than meet the eye. Not only do landlords have a solid source of income coming in month after month, but they also have someone looking after their property on a daily basis. If the lighting starts to flicker because the electrical system is on the decline, landlords will know before they have a burning building on their hands.
But there are some tenants who will do far more harm than good to a property, and it's not always easy to determine a person's true character prior to their move-in date. There are laws that are designed to protect landlords from excessive damage, but the law can only do so much in the case of an extreme situation. It's why accurate screening should be given top priority.
Fraud Is On the Rise
With the popularity of online screening, it's unfortunately becoming easier for renters to commit fraud. According to a study performed by TransUnion, this is one of the main reasons why more than 80% of surveyed landlords experienced some type of fraud from tenants. Tenants may fabricate new identities online, use the new address to run up credit debt, and then leave the apartment with no warning.
The Importance of Screening
One of the best ways to prevent fraud is to have run a background screening comb through verifiable public records that will alert you to the tenant's financial stability, criminal record, and eviction history. When you choose the right screening tools, you'll have fewer questions about the person in question. And if the prospective tenant does try to use another person's identity or make one up from scratch, there are ways to discover this before the lease is signed.
Call the References
It may only take a call or two to past landlords to ensure that the person is who they say they are. Ask for the employer's name and number, as well as contact information from colleagues or friends. If the people on the other line seem to be describing a stranger or their comments lack substance, it could be a sign of identity fraud. Passports, driver's licenses, and Social Security cards can also be used to validate the tenant's identity.
A lease can't stop a tenant from skipping the rent or damaging your property, but it can limit confusion between the terms of your agreement. Talk to a legal adviser to ensure that your terms are in compliance with the latest regulations. If the tenant does harm your property, take extensive photos and keep receipts for any repairs. Provide written notice to tenants prior to taking legal action against them, so you have a better chance of recouping costs.
Mircrobilt is dedicated to helping our clients make stronger decisions with more confidence, and that all starts with having the right data. If you're a landlord who wants to limit their collateral damage, consider how screening can take the weight off your shoulders.