Landlord background check provides a way for tenants to screen prospective landlords, identify any potential red flags, and help them choose the best place to settle.
There are countless reasons why you should make out time to know more about your Landlord to be; Especially before you commit. Your rent is probably your biggest monthly expense, and you should know more about the individual you would be transacting with.
Usually, a background check will:
- Confirm the prospective Landlord’s identity.
- Check the sex offender registry.
- Search criminal history at the county, state, and federal levels.
- Check global terrorist watchlists.
Here are a few things you can do to find out as much as you can about the person who owns and operates the place you’ll call home.
Use search engines
We exist in an age where you can find out a lot of things with the click of a mouse. When used correctly, these tools can, with mind-blowing effectiveness, make our lives easier. For example, as a tenant to be, you can google your Landlord for starters to clarify and confirm his identity claims.
You can try checking out one of the numerous landlord review sites online that hosts anonymous reviews from tenants. Perusing forums and online communes like this could be an eye-opener most times. Especially finding those reviews that you can relate to your own particular situation.
Check public records
Local government agencies are a hub of a wealth of information about properties, landlords, and that sort of stuff. You are able to, without any fee, perform a landlord background check.
Basically, your county courthouse hosts ownership records searchable by address. You can easily find the legal name of the person or company that owns the property. Additional red flags you can check for are code violations, foreclosure proceedings, evictions, and small claim court settlements.
Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood
Renting right takes a careful understanding of the things you need to survive and if your new locale has it. You should take a few minutes to explore the neighborhood, without your Landlord in tow.
This also presents you with the opportunity to pull off a covert landlord background check. If there are other tenants out and about, start conversations with them. Lightly try and get a feel of the place; renewed leases are usually a good sign of good Landlord-Tenant relationship.
Mentally create a Pros and Cons list; if there are no other people in the exact vicinity that you can talk to, ask the Landlord if you can speak to his current tenants.
Another way to go would be social media. Neighborhood specific forums are a gem for sourcing out info about a house you are about to rent and its property manager.
Trust your Gut
When you feel in doubt, remember that you would have to live in the house in question. It means a lot that you make the right choice. Trust your instincts. A general guide list of flags you should carefully observe are:
- Shady lease terms
- Ridiculous pricing, disproportionate to the apartment size, amenities, or neighborhood
- A landlord hesitant to answer questions
- A rushed rental process.
When you are about to get into a deal with another person, you are allowed an equal amount of curiosity. You can pose any amount of question to fill in these gaps and assure yourself of the rightness of your choice. Landlords ask questions, so why can’t you?
Ask to find out more about their dealing policies. Inquire as to how you can move in as smoothly as possible. Learn more than you think you need to know and then some!
They are obligated to answer these questions, so do not feel like you are doing anything wrong by being very inquisitive. The more info you have, the better understanding you have of the deal you are about to enter.
Performing an in-depth landlord background check is one of those things you can’t just overlook in the renting process. Take to heart that observation and inquiry will do you a lot of good in your search. I hope you make the right choice.