Set the Stage for Debt Collection Before Your Tenant Moves In

by Chris on October 1, 2012

Have you ever found yourself in that ugly scenario where your ex-tenant owes you money for back rent or damages, but they are impossible to track down?

If not, then you are one of the lucky ones.

Professional collection agencies have “tried and true” processes for collecting from deadbeat tenants.  One of their most powerful tools relies on a very simple premise: accurate contact information. 

It doesn’t matter if you try to collect the debt yourself, or outsource it to a collection agency.  If you don’t have any way to find your ex-tenant, the likelihood of collecting your money drops like a lead weight.

Oftentimes, the information on their original rental application will help.  But most standard rental applications don’t provide enough information when looking at it from a debt-collection perspective.

So if you want to be proactive and NOT find yourself in a situation where you can’t find your ex-tenant, the smart thing to do is begin collecting your debts, before your tenant moves in.

This approach may sound counter-intuitive, but it can save you massive headaches down the road.  And it is incredibly simple to implement.

Here’s how it works:

The first thing to do is create a simple form for your tenant to fill out — either in the rental application or a separate form.  You’re going to ask for 3 personal references, and 3 emergency contacts.  Ideally, the personal references should include (at least) one family member. 

You will want all of these six people to be different (no duplication).  Make sure you get their name, telephone number and email address, and that the information is accurate and legible.

What do you do with this information? 

Hopefully, nothing.  For now, just add it to their file and hope you never need it. 

But, in the unlikely event this tenant ends up leaving your property owing money, the information on this form will be worth far more than its weight in gold!

 

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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dennis October 11, 2012 at 7:52 am

If I ask for a reference it is always from an employer.
As a tenant is not going to give you a bad reference.
It could be a relative or very good friend.
As for emergency contacts, it is hard for a newly arrived tenant from another province to provide a reliable number.

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