Screening a potential tenant’s social media accounts can provide valuable insights into their character, behaviour, and lifestyle. Accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media platforms that can be helpful for landlords.
Here are several reasons why landlords or property managers may consider this practice:
- Verification of Information: Social media profiles can help verify the information provided by the potential tenant during the application process. It allows landlords to cross-reference details such as employment, education and personal history.
- Rental Suitability Assessment: Social media activity can provide an understanding of a tenant’s lifestyle, interests, and hobbies. This information helps landlords determine if the tenant’s habits align with the rules and regulations of the property or community.
- Financial Responsibility Evaluation: Social media can offer insights into a potential tenant’s financial behaviour. For instance, excessive displays of luxury purchases or extravagant spending habits may raise concerns about their ability to consistently pay rent on time.
- Behavioural Patterns and Professionalism: By reviewing a tenant’s social media presence, landlords can gain insights into their general behaviour, attitudes, and professionalism. Offensive or disrespectful content might indicate potential conflicts with neighbours or disregard for property rules.
- Tenant-community Compatibility: Examining social media can reveal if a tenant’s lifestyle and values align with the community atmosphere and other tenant’s preferences. It helps ensure a harmonious living environment and avoids any potential clashes between tenants.
- Security and Safety Considerations: Checking social media accounts can help identify any potential red flags related to safety concerns. Landlords can assess if there are indications of criminal activities, illegal substances, or a history of disruptive behavior.
Here are some commonly used social media platforms for tenant screening and why they may be beneficial:
- Facebook: Facebook is a popular platform that provides a wealth of information about individuals. It offers insights into a tenant’s lifestyle, interests, friends, and overall behaviour. Landlords can view public posts, photos, and interactions to gain a better understanding of the tenant’s character.
- Linkedin: Linkedin is a professional networking platform that can provide valuable information about a tenant’s employment history, qualifications, and industry connections. It helps verify the tenant’s professional background and assess their stability and financial standing.
- Twitter: Twitter allows users to share real-time thoughts and opinions. Reviewing a tenant’s Twitter account can offer insights into their attitudes, communication style, and potential conflicts. It can be useful for assessing their temperament and how they engage with others.
- Instagram: Instagram is a photo and video-sharing platform that can provide visual evidence of a tenant’s lifestyle and interests. It can reveal aspects such as hobbies, social activities, and personal preferences. Landlords can assess if the tenant’s activities align with the property’s rules and regulations.
- YouTube: YouTube is a video-sharing platform where users can upload their own videos. Checking a tenant’s YouTube channel can offer a glimpse into their personal projects, interests, or any content that may raise concerns about their suitability as a tenant.
Here’s a case where social media helped verify the legitimacy of a rental application.
A Realtor cross-referenced the length of employment on a tenant’s application and on LinkedIn. The candidate indicated that he has been with his current employer for over a year, and on the other hand, his LinkedIn account has a start date of just a month since he submitted his rental application.
Screening social media accounts should be done in addition to calling the candidate’s references (previous landlord references, employment references). It’s important to not only depend on their online presence but also take the extra step of reviewing their references.
Remember, it is essential to use social media screening judiciously and ethically. Focus on publicly available information and avoid discriminatory practices or invasions of privacy. Landlords should exercise discretion and ensure to focus on relevant information. Additionally, be aware of any local laws or regulations that may impact the extent to which you can use social media in your tenant screening process.