Anyone who has ever rented an apartment or other residential property knows there are plenty of hoops to jump through. From utility arrangements to proof of income, you have to provide the landlord with a good deal of information. However, an application is a two-way street of communication, or at least it should be. Have you considered running a landlord background check?
While your landlord’s history may not be one of the questions on your mind as you contemplate where to rent, it’s nonetheless an important piece of information to try and discover. Remember, you’ll be renting from them for the foreseeable future–it’s only fair that you’re given the chance to make sure you can trust them. Let’s look at a few ways to perform a simple landlord background check.
Google the Landlord and Property Management Company
This is probably the easiest and simplest method of running a cursory background check: just put your landlord’s name and their property management company into Google. (You may want to Google the property address as well.) What kind of results come up? Do the reviews of the property and landlord alike reflect a good reputation? Of course, it’s good to exercise some skepticism when using Google for something this detailed, but what you find will be a good indicator of what else you might learn.
Pro Tip: Your future landlord asks you plenty of questions during the first meeting. It’s only fair for you to bring some questions of your own: ask them to explain a string of bad reviews, ask if they live on the property or elsewhere, etc.
Talk to the Neighbors
Set aside some time to talk with your future neighbors without the landlord present. Tell them you’re thinking of moving there and see how they feel about the property. Does the landlord handle complaints and maintenance requests well? Do the residents enjoy living there? Additionally, ask if any residents have renewed their leases–that’s an excellent sign that the property is a great place to live.
Find Public Records
It may not be your first thought, but if your landlord has taken legal action against a tenant (or been sued themselves), those records are permanent and generally available. See if you can find anything with the property manager’s name on it. If you do, what kind of legal case is it? An eviction, small claims settlement, foreclosure, or evidence of illegal activity should throw up a massive red flag immediately.
Find a Landlord You Can Trust
Running a landlord background check may seem a little odd and invasive, but it’s your right as a future tenant. If the landlord is allowed to check your background and credit history, it’s only fair that you also feel confident that you can trust them.
Connect with us to speak to an expert team of property managers and learn what to expect when meeting a landlord.
As a property manager, your job is to cultivate a safe, thriving environment for your tenants. This is particularly true if you manage a residential property such as an apartment complex. For property management, safety is an important concern to keep in mind.
Encouraging Safety for Your Tenants
Excellent safety solutions for rental properties take different forms depending on their exact location and how many people live there. However, there are several general ideas that rarely change between residential locations. The first steps toward a new safety program might include:
- Encourage energy conservation
- Establish guidelines for parties and guests
- Monitor the swimming pool
- Establish vacation guidelines
1) Encourage Energy Conservation
Using too much water and electricity not only makes more work and expenses for you, but it also drives up your tenants’ energy bills. Keep costs low for everyone by monitoring water and electricity usage to keep it within a reasonable parameter. For instance, maybe you can reduce the time sprinklers are left running. Residents will also be grateful to get a repaired or replaced HVAC unit if the old one isn’t working, and sealing the windows prevents climate-controlled air from escaping. Keep your tenants content and reduce bills for everyone with a little simple maintenance!
2) Establish Guidelines for Parties and Guests
Your tenants will likely have guests over from time to time, but for the sake of the other residents, it’s important to make sure they know what the guidelines regarding guests are. Make sure quiet hours are clearly explained and that tenants know where to direct their guests to park. This will help to prevent after-hours noise complaints or parking issues for your permanent tenants.
Pro Tip: If your tenants or their guests use the common areas, make sure everyone involved knows the rules for proper usage of those areas. Communicate clearly regarding reservations, cleaning, safety, and other important factors.
3) Monitor the Swimming Pool
If your apartment complex has a swimming pool, make sure you’re in compliance with local safety laws in your dealings with it. Most of the time, you’re required to at least post a sign with basic safety rules, provide cleaning and rescue equipment, and remind residents that no lifeguard is on duty. However, there are a few extra steps you can take. If you know your residents will be using the pool, find a nearby YMCA or similar place where your tenants can take swimming lessons. Some may even offer discounts for residents of your community!
4) Establish Vacation Guidelines
When residents leave for a multiday vacation, some will want to rent their apartments temporarily on a program such as AirBnB, while others will allow a friend or family member to stay there temporarily. This is a bit of a gray area for you as the property manager. Sometimes, local laws prohibit or severely restrict vacation rentals like this. However, even if these choices are legal, your first priority should be providing a safe and comfortable environment for your long-term tenants. Establish rules on whether or not vacation rentals and short-term occupancies are allowed (and under what circumstances) and make sure it’s communicated clearly to everyone.
Property Management Safety
A quality property management company recognizes the value of encouraging safety for tenants and renters alike. Show your tenants that you care about their well-being and want them to enjoy their stay at your property.
Connect with us to learn more about encouraging safety for tenants and managing potential dangers.