How to Screen Your Landlord

We all have had one experience or another with landlords, whether good or bad. We all hope for the good, but there’s a couple screening tricks you can do to make sure you like your landlord.

 

They will definitely be screening you as they do all tenants, so why not screen them to make sure they have a reputable history as a landlord. Here are four easy steps you can take to screen them.

 

  1. Check Public Records – searching public records can divulge a plethora of information helpful to your cause. You can find info for the landlord whether it be their personal, or corporation, and the property itself. Look for red flags though such as bankruptcy, liens on assets, criminal records, and any pending lawsuits.

Liens will come up if in the property records if there is one against it, whether if it is in the idle of a foreclosure, and any other legal problems it might have. The tax records will show you who bought the property, when it was built, and how much they paid for it. Be on the lookout if a property management company owns this property, and if they are underwater or filing for bankruptcy, chances are your stay might not be as long as you planned.

  1. Consider Complaints – Sometimes people will complain more than others, it’s just who they are. But take those complaints seriously, and consider where they are coming from. Find an online forum about the property, landlord, property Management Company, and see how other renters’ experiences have been. Look for repeated complaints.

Check with the Better Business Bureau if you are dealing with a property management company. Social media isn’t a bad way to check too. If they are an individual person, check on Google! They have everything.

  1. Talk to Your Neighbors – Your neighbors will have the entire scoop on your landlord. They are the ones who see him coming and going whenever they do. They will (and should) be happy to tell you about what kind of person (company) they are before you sign the lease.

Ask them if they know when rent has increased,  by how much, how they handle repairs, and how often they stop in to check in. It is also within your rights to ask the landlord for references from former tenants.

  1. Property Appearance – The physical condition of the property says a lot about the landlord as a person. How is the exterior of the property? Is it nice and taken care of, or is it chipping and looking a bit dirty?

Are the hallway fire extinguishers covered in cobwebs, or does it look like the landlord pays attention to them by cleaning every so often. A good landlord will maintain the property for aesthetics along with safety.

Check out the appliances and ask when is the last time they had to make a repair for them. Imagine a few months down the road if the AC goes out, how they will respond.

Signing your life over on a lease should not be taken lightly. Both the renter and landlord are dependent on one another to uphold their ends of the agreement. Do yourself a favor and do some research on your potential landlord to save yourself from a disastrous experience.

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