Realtor Deaths Underscore Landlords’ Need for Vigilance When Showing Vacancies

by Chris on October 1, 2010

A Realtor near Youngstown, Ohio was murdered last week at a vacant home she was showing.  Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder. 

Later the same day, a Realtor was murdered at a property he was showing about 40 miles from Youngstown.  The police  located the victim, once he was reported missing, through a GPS-tracking device in his car. A Georgia man who had just moved to the area was arrested in connection with that murder. At this time, the two cases do not appear to be related.

Two weeks ago, an Ohio Realtor was held at gunpoint in a vacant property for three hours and robbed. After spotting some activity nearby, the suspects fled the scene.  The police plan to charge the two Youngstown murder suspects in that case.

These cases reaffirm the need for landlords to pay attention to how they show vacant rental properties, particularly when violent criminals are exploiting the situation. 

Always meet with the prospective tenant before entering the property.  Meet in a safe, populated place.  Conduct a preliminary tenant screening before allowing the prospect to tour your property.  This also offers the opportunity to determine if this applicant is qualified to rent the property before you waste time, or place your existing tenants at risk. 

Always make sure that someone knows when (and where) you are showing a property, and has access to the tenant screening information you collected prior to the showing, including a photo ID and a description of the prospect’s car.  Letting the prospect know that someone is watching can serve as a deterrent to crime.

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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