A growing number of landlords are turning to social media to garner more information about rental applicants, according to the latest sentiment research from Foundation Home Loans.
From looking at past tenancies to issuing a credit check, it is important to take your time to research potential tenants, but the study shows that 11% of landlords now check Facebook and other social media accounts to screen tenants to help make an educated choice about who they let properties to.
Delving into the worlds of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram may seem like far more of a personality report than necessary, but it could enable a landlord to get to know a tenant before making a decision to rent their properties to them
Depending on the accounts available, information that could be gathered from social media could include everything from job and career history right through to friends and lifestyle.
The research also found that almost a third - 29% - of landlords choose to interview potential tenants to help decide whether they are right for the property, as part of the screening process.
Personal references are chosen by 34% as a happy medium, allowing them to understand personalities whilst maintaining a reasonable distance.
Employer references and previous landlord references are also requested by a number of landlords.
When it comes to preferences for tenant types, Foundation Home Loans report that middle-aged couples are favoured by 21% of landlords, with the view that they are less likely to damage the property. This is followed by families with children (16%) as they are more likely to stay in the property for the long-term, and young singles (8%) for the same reason.
Jeff Knight, marketing director at Foundation Home Loans, said: “Buy-to-let is a business, so it’s only natural that landlords would want to vet their potential tenants just as an employer would a potential employee.
“While Facebook and social media accounts may not be the best source of information if used in isolation, they can offer valuable insight when set against other checks such as personal references and credit checks.
“After all, maintaining a good rental income is a priority and void periods can be particularly damaging, so it’s important to ensure this is not a risk when new tenants move in.”