Landlords Beware: Email and Tenant Screening Don’t Mix

by Chris on May 13, 2013

Technology has made it easier than ever for tenants and landlords to link up. Unfortunately, these same advances also make it far too easy for problem tenants to stay under the radar.

tenant screeningIf landlords were to go “all in” with today’s new leasing technologies, ¬†they could advertise a vacant unit, allow prospective renters to self-tour a property, accept a rental application, and provide a lease online — all without ever having to meet the new tenant in person.

Imagine the impact this could have on tenant screening.

Email communication has its place, but its not screening tenants. Nothing can substitute for phone or personal interviews to catch a glimpse of the new tenant’s personality.

Here’s why:

1. Email and social media interactions make it easy to hide a person’s true identity and personality traits.

2. A prospective tenant who uses email may be signaling a lack of commitment to the house-hunting process. This person may not be ready to move, or unable to afford the rent. It’s very likely this individual is looking at numerous properties and won’t remember any specific ad. This can be a hard lease to close, and waste the landlord’s time in the process.

3. Email communication allows problem tenants the chance to ponder their answers and hone in on what the landlord wants to see. Spontaneous answers tend to be more trustworthy.

4. Phone numbers are still easier for a layperson to track, rather than email addresses, which tend to be generic.

While phone communications reveal more about a tenant than email, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting with the prospective new tenant. The landlord can check photo ID against the person’s actual appearance, and can match the voice to the one they just heard on the phone — minimizing the risk of being targeted by a bad tenant.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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