Social media has redesigned the way humans interact with each other. The likes of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat have a considerable role in our lives.
Property managers are asking themselves: Should I use social media for tenant screening?
There’s a distinct advantage of conducting social media research on your tenants. You get to see the persona that they reserve for there friends and family.
If you, like many others are considering using social media to guide your tenant screening process, check out the tips below
Use social media to see if your tenants are complying with the pet policy. Usually, if tenants have a furry companion, they are considered part of their family, and they will scatter photos and videos of them all over there accounts. If you find that your tenant does, in fact, have a pet and is breaching your “No pet” policy. Act calmly and head over to our Landlord guide on tenants breaking pet policies.
Employment status and details
A future tenant may indicate that they are currently employed, but their Facebook, Instagram or twitter suggest otherwise. This means you can continue the screening process but with extreme caution. If your tenant is prepared to lie about their employment status, what else are they willing to lie about?
Confirm possible late rent “excuses.”
When it comes to terrible excuses, property managers have heard it all. From “Sorry mate can’t make rent this month I was clipping my parrots’ wings and cut a vein, vet bills are running me dry” all the way to the simple and effective “I was in a coma.” There is never a shortage of reasons why a tenant can’t make rent.
Social media makes it easy to identify peoples living habits as most users are already actively trying to display them to their audience. If you suspect a tenant has given you a lousy reason as to why they can’t cover this months rent, have a look over their social media presence. Perhaps they told you they had to fork out for their mother’s funeral bill, yet you can see that they have checked into the pub every day this week on Facebook.
Are they “friends” with their ‘landlord’ references?
The biggest lie told by tenants is about their property manager reference.
Often, problematic tenants will leave on bad terms with their landlord, meaning getting a reference is out of the question. It’s highly likely that at some point in your career you will end up talking to a prospective tenant’s friend, uncle, grandma, etc. attempting to impersonate their old property manager.
A quick search of their friends name against their friend’s list will show you whether or not your hunch is right; however, if you draw the snooping line at searching through friends lists, there are a few other ways you can find out the truth.
Most of these people have little to no property management experience, making it rather easy to tell if they are the real deal or not. Being met with an extreme amount of hesitation when answering questions, “yes” answers only, aggression, and vague replies that don’t answer anything are all telling signs.
To combat this, ask questions that will strike them off guard, or that they may not have rehearsed. Ask things like how many maintenance requests were submitted by the tenant, how many parties did they have and other non-standard questions to throw them off.
Disclaimer: If your gut feeling is wrong and you are in fact talking to the manager be prepared to explain yourself when they call you out for asking them ridiculous questions!
Tread Lightly When Using Social Media For Tenant Screening
Deciding to use social media during your screening process is a personal one. SnapInspect suggests alerting all applicants if you intend to review their social platforms against their application.
After all, when you find the information you are looking for and present it to your tenant, you must be prepared to explain how you got your information.
Most tenants will not appreciate you saying you trawled through hours of their social media presence to find a photo of there dog so that you could call them up on it.
Be diligent when approaching every situation. Don’t abuse your social media screening and it will become a powerful asset for you and your screening process.