When you apply for a rental as a tenant, it is almost always necessary for a landlord to run a background check. However, just because you are the one being checked out doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some research of your own. Before you commit to a lease, and a landlord, you should find out as much as you can about the property, including the person who owns the place you may someday call home. Here are five easy ways to get the information on a potential landlord before you sign the lease.
Search the Internet
A quick online search is an efficient way to uncover any potential issues or reviews about your landlord, the property or the property management company. Search their name, or the company name, and see if they have had any troubles, legal or not. Pursue review websites that allow prior tenants to anonymously review their experience with the landlord or property. Personal experience and first-hand reviews can help tremendously when it comes time to make your decision.
Review Public Records
There is a wealth of information on the public record, so why not search there? Your county courthouse and town hall should have ownership records that can tell you who owns the property and for how long, as well as records of any code violations, foreclosure proceedings, evictions and settlements. If you find anything negative in your search, it may be worth it to walk away.
Talk to (Future) Neighbors
If you happen to be applying for an apartment within a complex, take some time to visit. If you happen to see a resident, politely ask if you can inquire about the property itself, as well as the landlord or company who owns it. Ask questions such as how long they have lived there, if they have renewed their lease, how complaints are handled and any pros and cons of the property.
Ask Important Questions
Lastly, as your potential new landlord, you have the right to ask questions just as they do. A quick chat can help to get a lot of important questions answered. When you meet with your future landlord, once they are done asking about you, ask about them. Questions about how they handle repairs, who will take care of the property, rent raises in the future, requesting entry into your unit and many more will help to give you a better understanding of how well they care for the property and you as a tenant. Landlords will most likely be able to answer all of your questions and address any concerns.
Though you aren’t purchasing a home, renting is still a huge financial commitment. As an applicant and tenant, you have every right to ask questions and research your future landlord. Be sure to trust your gut, and if you feel uncomfortable, or questions and concerns go unanswered, it may be best to walk away and keep on looking for your next rental.