Do some due diligence of your own before handing over your private information and signing a lease.
It’s standard practice for landlords to screen potential tenants. References, work history, banking information.
But what about your landlord’s references? How concerned should you be about trusting someone with your private information and the stability of your home without some background details?
1.) Check public records.
A quick public-records search can provide loads of information on your potential new landlord — whether an individual or a corporation — as well as the property itself. When researching a landlord, look for records red flags indicating bankruptcy, general liens on all assets, criminal records, and any lawsuits. Property records will show any liens placed specifically on the building, whether there is a foreclosure in progress, and any other legal actions specific to the property.
2.) Talk to the current tenants.
There’s no better resource for landlord behaviour than current tenants. They have first-hand experience and are probably more than happy to give you the real deal before you sign on the dotted line.
3.) You can glean many clues about a landlord’s character from the physical appearance of the property. Is the building’s exterior well maintained or is the paint peeling?
In the hallways, are the fire extinguishers in good working order, or are they covered in cobwebs with outdated inspection tags? A conscientious landlord will maintain the building for aesthetics as well as safety.