Landlords are constantly trying to come up with new ways to screen their tenants. One of the most recent discoveries or, rather, developments in the “art” has been online tenant background checks.
There are many different methods of online tenant background checks and online tenant screening but few, if any, are as simple, straightforward, and effective as a Facebook background check.
Facebook is used by almost everyone these days. Most applicants to your rental units will have a Facebook account. As a landlord it is in your best interest to take a quick look at your applicant’s Facebook page.
Many people don’t tread too carefully when it comes to Facebook and other social media. They will post things on their accounts that they think only friends can see, but that, in reality, are often available to almost anyone willing to do a little perusing.
Now, I’m not saying that you should hack into someone’s account – of course, I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that you should at least type your applicant’s name into Facebook and see if a match comes up.
If a match does come up, then checking out their profile is a great tenant screening start. Many people these days have their profiles set on private. If this is so, chances are that you will still be able to see their profile picture. Take a look. If you can access their profile, wall, and other photos, then take a quick look around.
Keep your eyes open for anything fishy. I have come across several applicants to my rental units clearly violating the terms of previous leases in their photographs. For instance, I took a look at one applicant’s Facebook profile, and their profile picture was of them next to a hole in a wall…now, I can’t say for sure that it was in their apartment, but anyone glorifying a hole in a wall is not a good fit for my requirements for tenants. See ya! Next!
A Facebook background check is a very handy tool for any landlord to utilize. It is free and only takes a few minutes to do. It might not tell you much, but it is a great way to potentially weed out bad seeds without spending money on an actual background check.
Do you ever use Facebook or other social media sites for tenant screening? I am interested to hear back from any other landlords that use similar methods!