Newly released data from Foundation Home Loans has revealed that savvy landlords are switching to social media to screen tenants before letting them live in their property.
According to the findings, popular sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram could reveal valuable insight into how they would be as tenants and is the first port of call for an estimated 11% of landlords.
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.
Given one in seven (14%) of landlords say they visit their properties once a month to meet with tenants and make any necessary repairs, a view on the characters living there is evidently important.
However, there are other methods of screening tenants also used by landlords. Just under a third (29%) choose to interview them to help decide whether they are right for the property. Personal references are chosen by 34% as a happy medium, allowing them to understand personalities whilst maintaining a reasonable distance.
Revealing an age difference in how landlords choose to go about their screening, employer references are preferred by more 18-34-year-old landlords (38%) while previous landlord references are valued by those aged 35-54 and 55 and over (41% and 33% respectively).
When it comes to preferences for tenant types, middle-aged couples are singled out 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, 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."