Finding a place to live in today can be a daunting task. It can be really hard to find a rental place that fits your pocket and needs in this fast paced and competitive world. This can be made harder if you get a landlord from hell. A landlord background check is the solution in such an instance. Finding that great place to live is a not enough.
It is a common practice for landlords to screen their potential tenants. They look up your work history, references, banking information and even your Social Security Number is not spared. The question is, how about them? Who verifies them? How can you trust someone you don’t know with so much private information about you?
It is a good idea to conduct a land landlord background search before you sign that lease. You will need to know how your landlord or manager deal with situation like deposits, rent, repairs and other issues. Here are a few tips you might use for a background check on your landlord before signing with them.
Start with a Google Search
One way to go about finding information on your landlord is to google them. You can also google a property manager or even the address of the property. This may sound obvious but there is a lot of information you can get through this process. If there has been news on the property in recent times, it will show up. Such news is usually not good news.
It might happen that your dream apartment might be in the process of foreclosure. This means that a landlord might try to rent you an apartment that he does not own. That way, you stand a chance of losing your deposit and even your home.
To find foreclosure information, find the tax records on the property and find out who it really belongs to. If the deal is with a property management company, try and find out foreclosures they conduct recently for their properties.
Public Records Search
A public records search can unearth a lot of details on your potential landlord, and the property. When looking up information on a landlord try to find anomalies like criminal records, bankruptcies, general liens on all assets and any lawsuits. Property records will reveal details like foreclosure, if it is on the building and other details related to it.
Tax records will give details like when the building was purchased, the purchase price and by whom. Try to also find out if the company is not underwater or filing for bankruptcy. If that is the case, you will have a really short lease than anticipated.
Consult with Current Tenants
You can consult with the current or previous tenants of the residence about the landlord. You can ask them about the noise in the building or just the neighborhood. You can also try and find out about repairs and other basic services such as water and heat. Are repairs promptly attended to? Is the maintenance of grounds good or up to standard? Is the landlord or manger available if you are not able to get in to your rental place? Is privacy of tenants observed? Is the manager or landlord nosy, stop by unannounced, gossip about tenants?
Inquire about the positives and negatives of living in the building and figure out if it would be ideal for you. This will give you a sense of the personality of the landlord and their preferred style of business.
Try to find out information that include things that are important to you. For example, try to find out if the place is quiet if you are looking to live in a place that has no noise. Maybe you are a party person and would not mind living in a place where there is partying. Try to find all that out.
Investigate the State of the Property
Investigating the building with the naked eye may not be all that you need to be able to determine if the state of the building is acceptable. Some issues with it might not be visible to the naked eye. These are issues that may need an inspector electrician. Mold, electrical problems, rodent infestations are not easily spotted yet they can be a threat to your safety and health.
A quick look up on the internet about the neighborhood or any natural disasters like floods and fires can reveal a lot about the property. Try to also find out if there no violations pending on the property. This might also need you to call the local city department to find the information.
These are some of the ways you can perform a landlord background check. It is a good idea to first find out what kind of place you are moving into before it’s too late. These tips will help you do just that.