Can I use tenants SSN to Screen? - Posted by Brent

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on August 17, 2003 at 01:46:34:

What’s wrong with hillbillies with junk cars? Didn’t you know they are a protected class and you can not discriminate? Be careful out there… :slight_smile:

Can I use tenants SSN to Screen? - Posted by Brent

Posted by Brent on August 14, 2003 at 12:32:56:

I’ve checked a prospective tenant’s references and they seem solid, but I’d like to do a credit check or see if they have any other matters that might affect myself or the property. What ways can I do this? Didn’t get much help from the archives. I have basic info to include her social security #. Thanks!!


Re: Can I use tenants SSN to Screen? - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on August 15, 2003 at 15:55:34:

Hi Brent:

I NOW run a credit check, bad check check, and eviction check on all my tenants. It wasn’t always that way. I do my own employment check.

You’ll need to have them complete a “Rental Application” for this process. By signing the apllication, they provide you with the SS#, and permission to run the credit check. And you’ll need to keep the application in your files for the “screening service” you use to conform to the law.

I always have them sign my “two page” application in my presence saying “please do it here if you’re really interested, as I have many other applicants”.

Interestingly enough, I find the filling out of the form itself to be a good “psychological test”.

On the one extreme, I have applicants upset at having to fill out such an outrageously long application. I find these folks make the worse tenants as they complain about evey little thing, and simply ignore things.

On the other extreme, when I ask for Passbook account #'s (not necxessary for me) and checking account numbers, which people don’t normally carry around with them, some folks actually ask me if its OK for them to go home, get the info, and come back, to complete the application.

I find the latter type of applicant to make the best tenants as the way the handle the application is a good indicator of how they handle things. They always follow the rules, and do what you ask of them.

I also have a short chat to qualify them when they call on the phone, and ask a variation of the same questions when they arrive in person. I actually caught a applicant lying this way, and further careful checking of the employer found the information given was phoney.

She actually provided phone numbers of personel, and supervisor who gave me glowing recommendation when I called. But since my brother-in-law worked for the bank, I was given a number to call where I only furnish a SS#, and they can tell me if she worked there or ever worked there.

Turned out she never ever worked there.

I checked further, and the bank in question had no office located at the POB listed, though she had a convincing voice box message for the bank.

I never did eviction checks up to that point, ordered one, and found out she was evicted about five years prior.

Naturally, I turned her down, and informed her about the ommission of the eviction (lying) as its an automatice turndown. She didn’t deny the eviction. I also advised her I had trouble verfying her employment, or her supervisors positon at the bank.

The tipoff of the phoney supervisor was I aksed on the phone “what’s you supervisor’s name and number again”, she had trouble remembering the name and number she put down.

Frank Chin

Re: Can I use tenants SSN to Screen? - Posted by Lyal

Posted by Lyal on August 14, 2003 at 14:21:23:

There is an excellent credit checking service through Cheap and it gives you an easily understandable report on your computer in minutes. I’d also advise a criminal background check (call your local law enforcement office to see how it’s done).
Bad credit in itself isn’t a no-go for me. It depends on the situation. If it’s medical bills or a divorce or temporary job loss, I can probably work with it. If it’s just a lot of credit card debt that they don’t want to pay, that’s a different story. Finally, the most important item is a previous landlord reference. Forget the present landlord, hey may just be trying to get rid of them and give a glowing reference. Check back 2 or 3. You need to be a bit cagey to make sure you’re not talking to a relative or friend posing as a landlord. Chat a bit about investing, how many units they have etc and look for clues.
All the best, Lyal

screening tenants - Posted by Christopher - WA

Posted by Christopher - WA on August 15, 2003 at 13:21:00:

Something else I like to do is drive by their current residence if they’re local. (Don’t tell them you’re going to do so.) You might even drop in unexpectedly though I’ve never found this necessary. One time my first choice tenants lived like hillbillies with junk cars in the yard and piles of rubbish everywhere. I went with my second choice that time.