Saturday, February 13th, 2016

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“Do Not Rent To” Database Helps Landlords Screen Tenants, Avoid Nightmares

I’ve got a great little spotlight audio interview and a short You Tube video I found that’s hilarious (if you’re a landlord) below. But first, consider this…

They say you never forget “your first time”.

It must be true. I know I won’t forget mine anytime soon.

The first time I was notably stiffed by a tenant, that is.

(What did you think I was talking about anyway 😉 )

His name was Bryant Finnie…

…and as far as I’m concerned, he FLAT OUT STOLE sixteen hundred bucks from me. In fact, here are the actual numbers…

That’s exactly how it looked when I sent it to the collection agency (who never collected a dime by the way).

I’ll spare you the longer version of my sob story, but suffice it to say that he called me asking for “a little more time”, assuring me he’d have no problem coming up with the money.

I have a soft heart, I admit it. And I was still fairly green as a landlord at the time. So I granted him the grace he asked for, and moreover I really, truly BELIEVED he’d make good on his word.

Classic, right?

So I found myself standing in the living room of Moonfall Way a mere 30 days later, with only a few piles of rubbish to greet me.

Bryant had, of course, skipped out at some point, with no word of where he was going or when I’d ever hear from him about paying what he owed. And as you might guess, I never did.

My first, but definitely not my last…

Any landlord with even a little experience knows well that these stories are unfortunately par for the course, especially for newer landlords.

So this certainly wasn’t the last time something like this has happened to me as a landlord. In fact, I’ve had much bigger losses that hurt a lot worse since then.

But you never forget your first and the “special” place it holds in your heart.

Friends don’t let friends rent to deadbeats

How many times have you wished that you could report a bad tenant to warn other landlords?

Frankly I hate knowing that after Bryant Amy Finnie stiffed me in July 2003, they probably took the same mess with them to another rental property, and became the same pain in th neck for someone else that they were to me. In fact, they’ve probably done it a number of times by now.

And for the “mom and pop” landlord (more often the case than not) it only takes one bad tenant to devastate you financially, or even put you out of business entirely.

So here’s one way to go about it. Try getting the word out on You Tube. That’s what this guy did

Now as much as I LOVE watching that video, I think I’ve just discovered a better way to help save the next guy…

Enter DoNotRentTo.com

It’s an online tenant screening service that compiles information about problem tenants so landlords can make better decisions about who they rent to.

Said another way, it’s a national tenant reporting company — you can search their database by name to gauge whether others have experienced problems with a particular tenant applicant.

The missing link in tenant screening?

Any landlord worth his salt already does a standard credit and criminal background check on all tenants (you do…don’t you?)

But credit reports aren’t fail-safe. Sometimes people don’t have a credit history. In my opinion, you don’t really have the whole picture until you speak to their previous landlord.

But what if a prospective tenant lies and provides a relatives number when asked for references?

Yes, it happens. A lot.

That’s where I see a resource like DoNotRentTo.com coming in. A year’s subscription is only $29.99. That’s the investment for the whole year, not per month. (How much do you spend running ONE credit report?)

And apparently you don’t need to subscribe to enter a listing about a tenant – only to search for a name.

As a member, landlords have unlimited tenant postings and unlimited tenant searches. When posting tenant information, landlords are allowed to enter any comments they feel will best describe their experience with a certain renter. Members can also contact other members via e-mail to help verify certain tenant information when needed.

I was able to catch up with the managing partner of DoNotRentTo.com Joseph Collins and have a short chat with him about the service, including…

  • How it came about
  • Specifically how it benefits landlords
  • What does this service provide that you can’t already get on a credit report?
  • What is someone posts incorrect information about a past tenant?
  • What’s next in it’s development (a property management tool, discounted background checks, etc), and
  • How he answers the objections of a few who are concerned about it’s unregulated nature.

If you think this service might be of good use for you, then here’s my short interview with Joe to help cast a little more light on it for you…

[display_podcast]

Need more info about DoNotRentTo.com? Click here…

Please share your thoughts about this in the blog comments below…

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About 

JP Moses is a roughly-hewn man-child who first got into REI after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad back in Y2K and went full time in 2002. He's tinkered in everything from landlording to short sales to rehabs to Realtoring to REOs to notes to owner financing, blah, blah, blah...Till he finally stuck his flag deep into wholesaling and has since flipped somewhere north of a couple hundred deals.

JP's not a “guru” but also doesn't think it's a bad word. Among his core values are authenticity, creativity, big honkin' value, general fun-ness and being unshaven. He's super proud to be chief blogger guy at REItips.com and host of the free REIology podcast. He also thoroughly enjoys sharing his 53 best real estate investing forms with anyone who wants them. You should totally check that out. :-)

  • Bee

    Florida panhandle – Gerald D. Short is a name to avoid. Skipped out on his last month’s rent, left the place a pigpen, broken toilet, filthy frig, etc. etc. Brought roaches into property, was constantly requesting repairs for items he broke and no matter how much you did for him, he’ll still badmouth you, stiff you and report you to whatever authority he can come up with.
    If you see him, R-U-N

  • DebrinaMaria

    Do NOT rent to Joan Marie Burgos Sanchez in Alabama. She is from Puerto Rico. We have been renting homes for almost 20 years and this has been the worse renter by far.
    Left, owing over a month’s rent plus late fees. But that’s nothing compared to what the house looked like. Had the nerve to call yelling at me because I asked for the rent. She moved out and left our nearly perfect new house in the worse condition. She said Im clean person, I don’t leave place dirty, I clean it, I’m Puerto Rican, we clean it. Not this Puerto Rican. I pulled up and first thing I see is yard fill with insect crawling , stinking garbage, old shoes, toys, covered in ants and maggots, broken out front windows in a nice neighborhood (brick house) with blue tape and cardboard on it. She wasn’t suppose to smoke or have pets inside, (she signed lease and papers to this rule) and she had been keeping strays coming in and out from streets, without washing them (per the surrounding neighbors). The carpets and floors were so damaged, only way to fix them is to take out old and bring in new. $$$$$$, money money and more money it will cost at least $8,000 to $10,000 to fix just from what I saw. (I haven’t had it fully inspected yet) And that’s getting the supplies on sale and deals. She put out cigarettes on the carpets in every room. The house smells so bad, I had to wear a thick painters mask to help me get through the walk. I don’t know how a person can destroy ceramic tiles in a house, but she managed to make holes in some of the tiles. The grout is filthy. There is long dark yellow spots surrounding the granite bathroom sink from apparently leaving lit cigarettes on the edges of the new sink and they burned all the way down and left terrible looking spots. We had the new sink and cabinet put in a month before she moved in. The real wood long closet doors (that they don’t even make any more, the good stuff) that are louver (half of the panels are ripped out). None of the closet doors are on the hinges. The toilets have piles of red candle wax a mile high on them. Theres 2 tall piles of some white plaster looking stuff on the master bathroom tiles, that will have to be dug up and tiles replaced. Stains and dirt on every wall, so bad you can’t even clean it with a rag and cleaner. We painted it before she moved in also. The entire house. The ceilings were white and I was so proud of how nice the house looked before she rented it. Now around every vent on ceilings, theres this dark ugly dirt and lots of it on the ceilings. Ive lived in our house for 13 years and never had anything like that come out of ours. We checked her out and she had decent credit and past professional references, work references with reputable companies. When I saw all the garbage she left all over the (before manicured landscape) I was mortified. Missing bedroom doors, broken bathroom doors off the hinges and hinges broken straight off the doors and walls. I did not check the pipes and plumbing yet. The stove, refrigerator and counter tops so messed up, I almost threw up when I saw the damage. I was with my 2 children and one of them actually ran outside and threw up from the stench. The other one just went back to the car. Theres no way to ever get back what she took. It will take years to get this money back from her if she gets her wages garnished for the next 10 years. Its so much work we will have to do to recover. But we plan to do everything we can do to get it back. No one should get away with this kind of behavior to other peoples property. Police came out and assessed it. I used to be able to do the work myself. But my health has deteriorated over the years and I can’t do any of the repairs and renovating work I used to do. And with this one now having had the almighty scum from hell, it’s going to take allot. So, please don’t be fooled like me. Do not rent to her.
    Joan Marie Burgos Sanchez She will scream that she is clean person, but she is filthy person and will trash your property. Changes jobs and cell phones every 6 to 8 weeks. I kid you not.