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Should You Use Social Media for Screening Tenants?

Pretty much everywhere, social media is the norm. Even landlords use social media for many purposes. One of these is screening tenants. But is Facebook or another social platform a good place to gather more information about potential renters?                      

Social media may offer some clues as to whether a person is a suitable renter. However, do remember that while social media offers more insight, it shouldn’t be used to legally judge a tenant.

In this blog post, you will learn some tips when using social media as part of your tenant screening process.

As always, follow a proper tenant screening process.

While you are considering social media, never use it to replace the right screening process. Make sure that you verify a tenant’s identity, check his credit report, confirm the authenticity of his employment, and call his current and previous landlord.

Read More: Top Tips for a Successful Tenant Screening Process

Know what you are looking for.

Hands down, Facebook is the biggest social media platform. It provides a ton of details that might leave you confused if you don’t know what to look for. Basing on your criteria, you might be interested in the following information:

  • Pet ownership
  • Partying habits
  • Work history
  • Spending habits (“bragging” posts)
  • Former residences

Check all your tenant applicants the same way.

If you are to look up the social media account of one tenant applicant, do the same for the rest. Be fair in screening tenants, no matter who they are. Sticking to the same routine for all tenant applicants is the way to protect yourself from a discrimination lawsuit. 

While you are trying to test a tenant’s honesty in one aspect by checking his social media posts, remember that there is such a thing as too much information. You cannot unlearn what you learn and such things may have nothing to do with a tenant’s ability to pay rent or remain a good renter.

Not all social media information is accurate.

False information and fake social media profiles are on the rise. Your tenant could be a victim of identity theft or a scam. Just remember that online information is created casually, and that what you find may not always be true. You may end up rejecting a great tenant.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide if you should social media as part of your screening process. Perhaps a good reason to use it is to spot red flags in a renter’s application. Again, what you find is not always sufficient information to tell whether a tenant is worth it.

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