Thursday, November 27th, 2014

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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. :-)

  • Mojack Vierundzwanzig

    do not i repeat do not ever rent to this dead beat Tracy Lynn Mclaughlin 45 of clearlake ca. after a year of pulling teeth to get rent, which was almost never on time{twice} or in full . i was marking the days till the end of her lease. when she came to me and litterly begged for an extension and crying about not wanting to be on the street and getting back to the ways that got her a 2 year sentence in prision. i said i would ill make it easy split the rent into 2 payments , make certain conditions or i wouldnt even consider it and she had to live up to her word. well in 2 weeks she was back to her old ways violated the lease in 3 places had her felon bf move in in violation of lease. i washed my hands at that time place was put into escrow to sell . let the next poor guy deal with her bs. then literally a week to 10 days before close a fire in a steel shop 2 car was started after said bf broke into it and started it . now on top of losing literally half my income and 10k$ in pocket down payment scrabling to figure out what to do that was end of july . filing a ut was pointless as i had a hard enough time living on my new income of 600 a month and no way could afford the $240 filing fee{ they wont give waivers up here if you have anything }so 3 months no rent and one more time i have had to take cuts in my life because this person isnt responsible enough to live up to her responsibility If uyou look at your rental property as a business and income save yourself the headache of dealing with this person.

  • rhn5595

    near rochester,ny do not rent to aimee maas, brian curtain or william snyder

  • Betty York

    Do not rent to: Elizabeth Mauchly, also known as Goldie Redd. She lived in an apartment in Holyoke, MA and failed to pay four months rent. She was late to pay every months rent that she did pay, and needed to be called, emailed, and visited to get payment. She would habitually claim that the rent had been sent, but lost in the mail. She would say she was going to drop in off, but a migraine kept her.

    As a tenant she was also awful. Neighboring apartments called the cops several times to lodge noise complaints for “loud sex.” The cops showed up several times looking for her. She was found shooting pornography in the public hallways outside her apartment. Eventually an eviction notice had to be sent to remove the tenant for non-payment.

    Do not rent to this woman unless you want to spend some time in small claims court, and are curious how low the bar for humanity can go.

  • Pissed

    In Boston, do not rent to Jonathan Starke.