social media

Social media screening of tenants on the rise

Life is becoming increasingly more digital, with more and more components of the lettings process being managed online.

However recent research from Foundation Home Loans has suggested that not only are landlords now looking to find their tenants online, but they’re now turning to their tenant’s online habits to vet them too.

As entire lives are built and run on social media, it’s no surprise that many landlords are choosing to become ‘digital snoops’ and have a quick glance on their tenants digital accounts to see if they can help build a picture of the person that they are considering handing the keys of their property to. The survey revealed that 11% of landlords admitted to having a sneaky peek on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see if they can better understand the person their tenant is.

The details that landlords admitted to peeking at included details, such as their prospective tenant’s job and career history, down to more personal information, such as their friends and lifestyle choices.

Buy-to-let is a business, so it’s only natural that landlords would want to vet their potential tenants just as an employer would a potential employee. While Facebook and social media accounts may not be the best source of information if used in isolation, they can offer valuable insight when set against other checks such as personal references and credit checks. After all, maintaining a good rental income is a priority and void periods can be particularly damaging, so it’s important to ensure this is not a risk when new tenants move in.

Jeff Knight, marketing director at Foundation Home Loans

However, the research also suggested that despite the detailed overview that social media platforms, along with more traditional forms of referencing allows landlords to have into their tenant’s history and background, 29% still choose to interview prospective tenants in person, to make sure that they are making the right choice.

The face-to-face option is a great way to get a real feel for whether you think a tenant is the right fit for your property, and many landlords choose to do this right at the start of the process.

Carrying out your own property viewings can sound daunting, however if you carry out this task at the very start of the tenant find process, not only do you get a feel for your tenant before you have invested any time (or morny0 in referencing, but you also can start to build a relationship with them, a vitally important element in any successful long-term let.

If you’d like to have a go at handling your own viewings, check out our top ten do’s and don’ts here:

The research revealed that 34% of landlords admitted to relying on personal references, as part of a wider screening process, when deciding upon their tenant. However, even if you’ve steered clear of social media at the outset of your landlord/tenant relationship, don’t be fooled into thinking it may not raise its head as you progress on…

If you have a friendly relationship with your tenant, don’t be surprised if a ‘friend request’ pops up on your own social media accounts, a tricky situation to find yourself in! Read up on how you can deal with this awkward digital dilemma here:

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