The advantage of sharing a rental space with a roommate is that you save on money while affording a nicer place. The trouble is finding the perfect roommate that you can trust and is transparent. If you are living with someone, you need assurance that your possessions are in safe hands when you are not around. Hence the need for a roommate background check. It is the only way to reduce the chance of finding a roommate from hell.
Having a roommate can be a wonderful experience as it not only helps you save on money but also have someone to share personal space with. That is one reason it is a necessity to take precautions with the person you let into your personal space. A background check on someone is more like a perfect interview.
Before embarking on the search for that perfect roommate, you should first consult with your landlord. Some landlords would need your roommate to co-sign the lease. This will give your roommates equal rights with you to the place. In a situation whereby your roommate is unable to cover their utility services, you will be held accountable.
Another disadvantage would be that, if the payments are delayed and not made in time, the landlord might report this to the credit bureau and this will reflect bad on your credit scores. So, it calls that you be selective when choosing a roommate. It might help to choose someone who has the same personality as you. That way it would be easy to get along. But even so, you need to be thorough with your choice as that might not be enough.
Roommate Background Check Options
You can start your background check through Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Search for them using a number of options such as full name, abbreviations and nicknames. Try and go through their status, profile, posts and pictures. This will reveal what type of person they are and who they associate themselves with.
People surprisingly share a lot of details on themselves online. Facebook will give you a lot of information on a person’s habits and interests while LinkedIn is where a lot of people post their education and resumes. You won’t be snooping as this is someone you will share a room with and are trying to find out if there are no red flags on them.
The Laws of your State
The laws that govern the right of leaseholders and roommates vary from state to state. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the laws of the state you are in before entertaining a roommate.
One way to do that would be to go to Google and type landlord + tenant rules + county or state you live in. This will give you all information there is to find on the laws on the matter. They will relate the responsibilities of both tenant and landlord in the state.
Roommate Criminal Background Check
Some people do have that innocent face which can make you believe they can never have a criminal record. It is a fact that looks can be deceiving, so you should not rely on appearances only to determine who a person rely is. There is a lot at stake here. You can ask your landlord to conduct a background check on your potential roommate if they are on the lease too.
You can conduct a criminal records search on your potential roommate yourself too. This is in the situation whereby they are not on the lease. All you have to do is first run the first and last name of your potential roommate by the National Sex Offender Public Website from the Department of Justice.
For more criminal offences on them you can consult with the local courthouse. They will have other crimes and lawsuits on them if they exist.
Credit Report Background Check on a Roommate
You can also request a credit report which will help you determine how your potential roommate has been treating their bills in the past. This will also reveal their current debt and also if there was any landlord or roommate who ever filed a judgement against them.
If your potential roommate is reluctant to assist you find this information, the law entitles everyone to one free credit report per year on Annual Credit Report. You can take advantage of the offer to find out the credit report on your potential roommate. Details such Social Security Number are blacked out before you receive the results.
It is a wise decision to ask for a security deposit before your roommate moves in. This will help you in case they run into a financial crisis or leave without notifying you. The amount should cover a month’s rent and other utilities.
With these tips on how to do a roommate background check, you are now equipped to start your search. Avoid bringing trouble into your life with a simple roommate background check using these tips.