|Re: Reporting Bad Tenants and Precautionary Steps||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Douglas G. Larson (ddhleearthlink.net)|
|Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2011 10:57:46 -0700 (PDT)|
I am not an attorney, but while I agree that it is fair to warn potential landlords it is also prudent to be cautious with what words you use. As an example, the word parasitize, while it may, in your opinion, aptly describe your experience, it is a vague and possibly slanderous word. Instead stick to just the facts, e.g. "I rented to them for 6 months and they left the unit with $x of damage" or "They were repeatedly behind on their rent", "they were repeatedly rude and verbally abusive to me (or other residents)". Things along this line. Most of what I have read on this topic in the last day or so does fit this "Just the facts" approach, but I thought words like parasitize ought to be called out. I have been a landlord for about 4 years and I have had 5 renters during that time, all of them very good. I, and the other landlords here in my community do police background checks as well as ask for and check references for all potential renters. In the state of Washington, police background checks are open for anyone to request about anyone else, are easy to do, cost $10 and can be done online. While police background checks are easy here in Washington, they do tell you that the person being checked may be notified of the fact. Consequently all the potential renters I have done background checks on I have informed them of the fact myself beforehand and to my knowledge they were never notified by the police that the check had occurred. Check with your state for details. Also, while police background checks are a prudent step, be aware of just what information a check in your state will actually give you. Again, in the state of Washington, background checks requested by ordinary citizens, while permissible, will only reveal actual convictions. It won't reveal that someone was simply accused of something that never led to a conviction, even if a trial did take place. Institutions, like schools and Day Care facilities are permitted to see information more than just convictions. Asking for and checking references, while an imperfect system, is probably the best approach to weeding out people you don't want. As others have pointed out the most recent previous landlord could be trying to get rid of them and may not give the complete truth, or the references may be friends of the potential tenant and total fabrications. Another step we take here at Songaia, and I have done with all my renters, is to inform them that they need to meet and talk with as many people in the community as possible as well as attend several (I tell them 3 or 4) community events before I agree to rent to them. While this step is also not perfect, it lends more than just the landlords eyes and ears to the potential renters. I ask community members their thoughts on the potential renter after they have done this. Douglas Larson, Songaia Cohousing
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