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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 4925  
Subject: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/1/2012 8:42 AM
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I recently used a new-to-me website for tenant screening and was very happy with it. If anyone's looking for a recommended site, try:
http://www.landlordstation.com/

DETAILED credit report WITH a credit score, criminal, bankruptcies, foreclosures, medical collections, employment summary, aliases & past history address for $29.95.

No membership or site-inspection required. The tenant must grant approve the request via their email address before the information is released. I find that this gives a much more detailed credit report than your standard pass/fail that other non-site-inspection tenant screening sites provide.

http://www.landlordstation.com/faq/
How does a tenant confirm their identity?

When a report is ordered an email is automatically sent to the tenant. This email contains a link that will take the tenant to the verification page where they will input their personal information including Social Security number and Date of Birth. The tenant will then be asked to answer several questions pulled from their public files which will enable us to verify their identity. Once the tenant has successfully verified their identity and authorized the report, the report will be run.


It's associated with the TransUnion Credit Bureau:
http://www.landlordstation.com/about/
Landlord Station is an authorized Credit Marketing Partner of TransUnion through its SmartMove credit gateway. We provide 24/7 Internet access to credit reports, nationwide criminal searches, eviction notices and other personal information to Landlords for their use in determining the suitability of potential tenants.

In the credit section, the report I received included creditor name, designation of account (individual/joint/authorized user), open date, close date, rating (paid as agreed, 60 days past due, collection, charged-off, etc), past due amount, balance, terms ($197 mo/due monthly, etc) and comments (acct closed by creditor, acct closed by consumer, etc.).

Sections for collections, employment history, public records, and creditor inquires. Also criminal, aliases, and previous addresses.

Pretty thorough. It didn't have a monthly payment calendar of current/30/60/90 like you might get with your own credit bureau report. But the above data combined with a credit score made for a very legible report.

With a clear listing of existing debt balances and minimum monthly amounts due I could get a reasonable overview of the applicant's debt load vs income and how that would impact the ability to pay the rent.

I received the report almost instantaneously once the applicant ok'd its release (they say up to 24hrs on the site).

One of my applicants this time around did come up with a criminal background - a "threatening" charge out-of-state in 2008. So these things are definitely worth pulling. I went with another applicant without the criminal background.

HTH,

Laura
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Author: Eugeneous Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4543 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/1/2012 12:38 PM
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What about applicants with no email addy?

Eugene

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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4548 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/1/2012 3:17 PM
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What about applicants with no email addy?

My application asks for one. I also list on Craigslist, so if they contact me thru that, I know they have a contact email address. If the app didn't list one, I would have to ask them to set one up if they don't have one. If they have no internet at home or work, there is always the library for access.

Or, if they are complete techno-phobes or technically-illiterate (perhaps elderly/perhaps not), then one will have to use a different tenant-screening service.

I don't think this particular one has an option for taking phone calls from what I have read on their site. BUT you can confirm my assumption by reading their FAQs and/or emailing or calling their customer service to find that out for sure. I didn't need to dig that far as it didn't apply for me.

In my experience the last 10-odd years, I have yet to have an applicant without one. YMMV in your market. It certainly makes it easier to stay in contact with tenants when we are away.

Laura

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Author: Dwdonhoff Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4550 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/1/2012 3:57 PM
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In my experience the last 10-odd years, I have yet to have an applicant without one.

Frankly, I do not think I would even consider a tenant that claimed they didn't have one, nor want to use one, nor have a child/sibling/friend who could walk them through setting up one for this purpose.

There are minimum communications standards for a business relationship, which is what a tenant is asking for. I am not interested in dumbing-down to collect rents from a neanderthal.

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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4551 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/1/2012 4:07 PM
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Frankly, I do not think I would even consider a tenant that claimed they didn't have one, nor want to use one, nor have a child/sibling/friend who could walk them through setting up one for this purpose. There are minimum communications standards for a business relationship, which is what a tenant is asking for. I am not interested in dumbing-down to collect rents from a neanderthal.

That's my personal preference as well. I don't know where the OP stands on that issue though.

Laura

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Author: Eugeneous Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4553 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/2/2012 8:29 PM
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That's my personal preference as well. I don't know where the OP stands on that issue though.

Laura


I'm very choosey whom I give one of my email addys to. In my opinion my physical and mailing address should be sufficient. I've told many businesses that I have no email. I get enough spam.

Eugene

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Author: Dwdonhoff Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4554 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/3/2012 12:53 AM
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I've told many businesses that I have no email. I get enough spam.

Easily remedied; Set up a free email addy explicitly for the issue at had. Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail & literally dozens of others offer free web-based services.

Dave

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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4555 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/3/2012 6:46 AM
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I'm very choosey whom I give one of my email addys to. In my opinion my physical and mailing address should be sufficient. I've told many businesses that I have no email. I get enough spam.

That is your choice, but if you were applying with us, we would likely have to decline the app. With our travel & work schedules, the availability of email communication with a tenant is virtually a necessity. As we have never had an applicant without one, it's not a mandate that's likely to cause us vacancies. As a class, I don't think people without email addresses are protected :).

Telling retail businesses you have no email is one thing. But telling a place or person with whom you have a financial relationship, & the ease of communication impacts the relationship, is a little different.

Don't you use more than one email add? I have separate ones for personal, online shopping, EBay & misc junk. I also have a separate one for Craigslist adds. We advertise on CL. Tenants don't get our personal address until after they have signed the lease.

If you were in a rental situation, you would actually tell a landlord you were unwilling to set up a new email address to communicate with them? It's not exactly that hard to sign up with Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and the like.

My personal & rarely-used email addys get virtually no spam. My online shopping one gets some. But 99% goes in the spam folder so it's not a big maintenance headache. Click. Empty Folder. I hardly ever scan what's in it anymore. The only misdirected ones I ever see there are a few shopping coupons from merchants I've used. The viagra/cialis type ones go right to Trash as I have filters set up.

Laura

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Author: Eugeneous Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4557 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/3/2012 5:27 PM
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My personal & rarely-used email addys get virtually no spam. My online shopping one gets some. But 99% goes in the spam folder so it's not a big maintenance headache. Click. Empty Folder. I hardly ever scan what's in it anymore. The only misdirected ones I ever see there are a few shopping coupons from merchants I've used. The viagra/cialis type ones go right to Trash as I have filters set up.

Laura


I have/had 5 email addys. Not sure if my netscape one is still usable. Yahoo is spammed a lot. I seldom use it anymore. 2 hotmail accounts, one personal and one to give to businesses. The business one gets spammed some, the personal one seldom. I set up a gmail one to test the calendar. No spam there.

If it came down to it I probably would give it to a landlord. It's hypothetical to me because I own my own home. My rental property is 99 acres of farmland. Most communication with the tennant is by phone except for documents for the ag dept. that need my signature. My brother and some coworkers have no internet and no interest in it.

It has been an interesting conversation and Laura I thank you and Dave for it.

Eugene
off to test a netscape addy.

Eugene

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Author: LQu Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4560 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 5/4/2012 8:47 AM
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If it came down to it I probably would give it to a landlord. It's hypothetical to me because I own my own home. My rental property is 99 acres of farmland. Most communication with the tennant is by phone except for documents for the ag dept. that need my signature. My brother and some coworkers have no internet and no interest in it.

I think the target market, location and type of property make a significant difference in what tools the landlord needs for communication. And probably in the tenant's expectations as well. In your case, with an ag property, I would suspect that your turnover rate is less than the typical residential rental?

In our case, we tend to get D.I.N.K.s., with a smattering of a few corporate singles and 2a/2c families thrown in. Knock on wood, we don't churn a lot. Of late, we've had 2, 5, 7 & 10-year long tenants, with a 6-monther thrown in during a winter vacancy. I can't recall the last time we had a one-and-done.

One of the properties is in a corporate-centric location. Most of those applicants would expect me to be facilitating communication with email availability.

In any case, internet addys were probably a moot point 15 years ago. As the technology changes, so do the expectations. Thirty-odd years ago faxing was da bomb. No waiting for docs overnight (assuming original sig not needed). Wee.

Thirty years ago I might not have envisioned incorporating part-time remote management of the rentals as part of our rental agenda. Now we can be on either side of the big pond.

Laura

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Author: Zumba Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4705 of 4925
Subject: Re: Tenant Screening Website: LandlordStation Date: 1/21/2013 9:19 PM
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Thanks, Laura. Very helpful.

Paul

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