There is no denying that the use of Social Media has completely taken over the internet. People are quick and willing to place their entire lives online, for all to see on a public level.
For tenant application processing, there is certainly debate about whether we should use this tool to ‘judge’ an applicant.
The general attitude among property managers is that, if a person has set their social media platform to the public, you may find a treasure trove of useful information that’ll assist you in the processing of an application and, therefore also in coming to an end decision.
Using social media to collect information can never replace checking the Tenant Default Databases, or calling their agent references.
We ran a Facebook competition recently and we thank everyone for the ideas given and used in this article.
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#1- Do they have ‘fur babies’?
When someone says on their application form that they have no pets, their Facebook page should reveal the truth. 20 years ago, people had dogs and cats. These days they have ‘fur babies’ and their cute little faces will no doubt be plastered clearly on social media, just like a member of the family.
#2- More occupants than you ‘counted’ on?
If the property being applied for is a one or two bedroom unit and the applicant says that one or two people will be living in the property, their Facebook page may show if this is the case or if in fact, they have a few more live in family members that they forgot to tell you about!
#3- Check employment details and dates.
Do the dates of employment on the application match their employment details posted on Facebook or on Linked In? This is not always 100% effective however as some people do not update their employment status regularly so be careful. Also be aware if you check Linked In using your profile, they will know if you’ve seen their profile and checked up on them unless you change your privacy settings.
#4- Are they ‘friends’ with their falsified landlord references?
No doubt if they’ve got a ‘friend’ to lie to give you a falsified landlord reference, they will be found in their friends list. Only a good friend will likely lie for another!
#5- Is their living standard on show?
Do they have photos displaying their general living standard? Is it contrary to good tenancy behaviour? Facebook can be a gift and give you an inside look at how they live and you can observe if they can probably keep a property reasonably clean.
#6- Relationship status check
Is checking their relationship status important for your application processing? It’s likely available on their Facebook post too – for all to see!
#7- Trashed and partied out?
We all like to have fun and yes, ‘getting trashed at a party’ should not be used as a way to know if a tenant will pay the rent on time and maintain the property in good standard. BUT, what does the overall picture say about them and their lifestyle? Is this on a show, and is it contrary to what you need from a tenant? Judge carefully, please!
#8- Previous ‘dwelling’ history
Does the applicant say they’ve got no tenancy history because they’ve been out of the country? Facebook should help you to confirm this information.
If a person is moving house, you are likely to find that on Facebook. Take a check and look to see if what they told you matches with what they’ve got to show on their timeline.
What about during Tenancy?
#9 Have they told a late rent ‘porky pie’?
Have they said they’ve been unable to pay their rent because they’ve been in the hospital or had their purse/wallet stolen? If this is true, it is likely to be placed all over their Facebook profile at the time that it happened so you can confirm.
#10 Suspicious about a pet?
Is the tenancy not approved for pets and you’re seeing signs at a routine inspection that they might just have a pet ‘on the sly’? Facebook can usually confirm suspicions on that so you can start asking the right questions should this be the case.