Category Archives for "Rental screening"

Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution

People regularly ask us if we actually do landlord verification. There are varied opinions among landlords and property managers over whether or not this is an effective method of tenant screening.

Despite the potential problems, which I’ll discuss if you can get a landlord to speak honestly and from knowledge about a tenant, they can provide some of the most valuable information. First, when I say from knowledge, I mean a landlord that was involved with the day-to-day; one that knew first-hand what kind of tenant the applicant has been or will be.

Why is landlord verification so valuable?

Because current and past landlords can provide you with the two most important pieces of information, you need when deciding whether or not to accept a tenant application.

  1. Do they pay and on time
  2. Did they do damage to the property

There are plenty of smaller bits of information you’ll need to know, but those two are the most important because they separate the good tenants from the not good tenants. What else could you want?

It might seem like common sense to talk to their landlord, but the property managers that are hesitant to do so, are with good reason. Current landlords may not be entirely honest with you about the tenant or may purposely mislead you.

Why would a landlord purposely mislead you? Obviously, you’re both in the same business; there should be some level of comradery there, right? There are two primary reasons a landlord will mislead a prospective landlord.

  1. The tenant is fantastic and they don’t want to lose them. If a landlord does not want to lose a tenant that pays on time, keeps the place clean, and doesn’t cause problems, they may mislead prospective landlords into thinking there are issues with the tenant to keep them.
  2. The tenant is horrible. Likewise, if a landlord wants to get rid of a tenant without the expense of an eviction, they may make the individual sound better than they are to convince you to rent to them.

With the risk of being misled, why would we still conduct landlord verification? While not completely fool-proof, we have found a solution to this problem.

In some cases, we know the previous landlord or property manager, and we are confident they will provide us with accurate information. Being in the business for a while, we’ve had the opportunity to network with many of the property owners in the area, which helps.

However, the solution, since you can’t bank on knowing the previous landlord is to get landlord information going back two addresses. If you can get in contact with the applicant’s previous landlord; not the one they are currently renting from, you can get more accurate information. The former landlord will have no vested interest in misleading you because the tenant is no longer with them anyway.

For more information on how we screen tenants, go to 7 Steps to Flawless Tenant Screening.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Detecting Rental Scams: Tips on Protecting Yourself and Your Investments

When you rent from Realty Trust Services you will be able to meet us and see the property. We aren't going anywhere.

When you rent from Realty Trust Services you will be able to meet us and see the property. We aren’t going anywhere.

If you simply Google search “rental scams” you will get to read a plethora of articles on landlords or fake landlords scamming potential tenants. Unfortunately, landlords are often portrayed as the big bad wolf in the story. However, there are a multitude of people out there posing as potential or fake tenants working scams on unsuspected landlords.

As an experienced and highly educated property management company, we have learned what to watch out for, and we want to share with you a few red flags. These are the situations where you need to be extra cautious before agreeing to rent or handing over the keys to the property.

  • If the tenant is unable to meet in person. If someone contacts you to rent a unit over the phone or via email, insist on meeting in person. Not having to show up is the easiest way to scam someone.
  • Wanting to rent the unit without seeing it first. If someone approaches you to rent a unit they have never seen before, this is a red flag. It could be an outright scam, or the individual may be involved in illegal activity, and the location of the rental unit is more important that the look or size of the rental unit.
  • Sending or providing a check for more than the needed amount. Then stating the written amount was a mistake and asking for the difference back. This is actually a common scam. The check is bad, but you won’t discover that until after you’ve returned the difference. If this happens, return the original check and ask them to write a new one.
  • Being overly rushed. Short of experiencing a house fire, there is no legitimate reason someone would need to move in within days. If they are rushing the rental process too much, there is a solid chance they are trying to get in to the place before you find out some truth about them. Do not rent a placed until you have completed your normal background checks, which should include a criminal check.
  • If a potential tenant offers to pay several months in advance with cash. Although this might seem like a great deal, you have to be careful. Make sure you do your criminal check and get the results before renting.

These are a handful of the red flags you need to watch for when renting your properties. Being thorough, running background checks, and not being lured into an overly good deal or opportunity are the best ways to protect yourself and your property. We consistently work to protect our landlords from potential scams. Every tenant we rent too
has been fully vetted by our experienced staff, and we never rush into rental agreements.

About Realty Trust Services

Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, David Stevoff, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial, Leo Dombrowski and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazik, Joyce Thompson and Matthew Harkins. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

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