One Risk a Landlord Can’t Afford to Ignore

by Chris on September 10, 2010

Filling vacancies requires a lot of focus.  While a landlord is busy asking an applicant about credit history and verifying income, it is easy to overlook a more sinister situation: what if this person means them harm?

Protecting your physical safety while showing a vacancy is a very real concern.  Staying vigilant may help thwart an attack or theft.

These steps may provide a way to protect yourself and your property when showing a rental:

1.  Never schedule a showing from a phone call alone.  Meet the prospect in person at your office or a neutral location first.  Conduct preliminary tenant screening at that time that includes seeing a photo ID.  Take a current photo to include in the file. 

2.  Record the prospect’s preliminary tenant screening information, including the make, model and license number of their car, on a fixed database like your work computer or give it to your receptionist.  If you are away from the office, record the information on your cell phone or handheld device and email that information to your work computer or someone at your office.  Let the prospect know you have done so. 

3.  Review the  information to check for obvious inconsistencies before scheduling the showing.  Remain skeptical.  Ask a couple of questions about the information to test the prospect’s knowledge.

4.  Make certain that someone else knows your schedule and where to access the information on the prospect.

5.  Do not drive with the prospect to the showing.  Do not park your car in a driveway or area that they can block with their car.

6.  Do not show properties after dusk.

7.  Become familiar with the rental property before you show it, paying special attention to exits and escape routes within the neighbourhood. Be certain that the entrance of the property is not blocked from view by landscaping or other obstacles.

8.  Bring someone else with you or stay in contact with someone during the showing via cell phone or texting.  Arrange in advance for a code word to signal an emergency, or designate how often you will check in.

9.  Don’t carry personal items with you during the tour.  Leave valuables including your wallet locked in the car.  Keep the car keys close to your person and accessible. Place a panic button or personal alarm device on your key chain.

10.  Do not allow the prospect to walk behind you.  Consider learning basic self-defense techniques that can provide the time needed to escape from a threatening situation.

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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