Is TECHNOLOGY adding to the NUMBER of HOMELESS families!?!

By
Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

I ask this because in my over 40 years as a property manager, I have seen where it used to take 3 days to screen a rental applicant, it now can take less than 15 minutes.   I remember calling the credit bureau, giving my firm's passcode and the applicant's SS# and it would get a call back the next day with very sketchy credit information.  Originally I would take the information down long-hand and then the credit bureau gave us sheets that we could use to fill in the information - this was BEFORE faxes and computers.  I would call employers and I would call current and past landlords....all VERY time consuming.

Now all of this information including current and past landlords is available online.  Judgements are available online and many LARGE multi-unit properties are reporting residents' credit accounts MONTHLY just like a retail account.

I suspect the next generation of PM software will have this capability via DSL which may require our offices to be more secure and employee turnover more costly in changing passwords and software education.

As more and more landlords, big and small, rely on technology to give us the tools and resources to do our jobs, applicants who have made poor credit choices in the past will have a harder time finding good rental housing.

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tenant screening
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property leasing
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Rainer
18,005
Betty Fletcher
Fletcher Property Management Inc CRMC® * www.FletcherPM.com - Little Rock, AR
MPM, RMP - Little Rock Arkansas Property Manager

Wallace - Interesting perspective.  I've never thought about it that way but do see your point.  Just last week we were discussing the increased job losses in our area which will result in an increase in the number of tenants bailing on leases.  Thoroughly screening applications becomes even more important in these economic times. 

Mar 29, 2009 01:39 AM #1
Rainer
8,050
Northwest Indiana Executive Homes for Rent
Willems Property Management - Munster, IN
Yes Wallace I agree with you on this post. Technology makes it very hard for a person to hide their financial past and present. We pull credit on all tenants and most will be upfront about blemishes. Some bluff and will act surprised right at your office waiting room at report. www.nwi2rent.com
Mar 29, 2009 02:58 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,240,446
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Guys - I'm old....I started with multi-unit mgmt 40+ years ago when our marketing program was a sign in the yard and ad in the newspaper. Screening an applicant was an ordeal and chances were that I either knew the landlord or rental agent/landlord.  Now, there may be NO landlord as the prospect is a homeowner and they have NO landlord.  In some instances now, there is no employment as they are coming here for new jobs/positions (I ask for copy of their employment letter which UVa and most large employers now provide) and copies of paystubs from former job.

Those rental residents who have not kept up their credit and landlord relations will be seeking cheaper and less desirable rental homes from less desirable/less professional landlords who do not have the resources or technology of a PRO.

Mar 29, 2009 06:59 AM #3
Rainer
32,532
Michael Fowler
Fowler Realty Quad Cities - Davenport, IA
Broker, Owner Fowler Realty

I believe that technology will make it hard to hyde there wrong doings.  Take care,

Mike

Mar 30, 2009 06:43 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,240,446
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Mike - I agree.  Landlords and property managers are now using Facebook and google to search for information on residents..,.they can run but they can not hide!!

Mar 30, 2009 07:46 AM #5
Rainer
1,600
Todd Nibbe
WNY4RENT.com - Buffalo, NY

I don't think that this will harm people as much as you may think. I for one do not base someone's entire rental future with me on a credit number. I look at all things, especially the age of the discrepancies as everyone makes mistakes and 5 years of good accounts crosses out 2 bad incidents 6 years ago for me.

Mar 31, 2009 08:35 AM #6
Rainer
234,048
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL
SFR, SRES, CNC

Good PM topic Wallace.... looking to hear what the others have to say...

Diane

Apr 01, 2009 03:58 PM #7
Rainmaker
254,432
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

Wallace,  We have not found a suitable company to obtain the inside information on a tenant that is renting a single family home.  Sometimes that takes a day or two to figure out and cannot be done online. Not all landlords report their renters monthly, in fact, few do.  Job verifications can be tricky as well if relying on pay stubs which can be forged.  The human touch is not gone just yet in my world.  

Apr 09, 2009 03:43 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,240,446
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Bob - I agree; however, I actually use 2 credit screening agencies - one on the Right Coast and one on the Left Coast * that pull from different credit bureaus according to the applicant's current residence/state, I select which agency to use.

I only accept the applicant's application fee via personal check so that is where I start my process - by comparing their bank information on their application to the check they provide.

Apr 09, 2009 10:42 PM #9
Rainmaker
208,829
M. Suzi Woods (Gravenstuk)
NOW Sharing the life and spice of the GC one day at a time - Grand Canyon, AZ
Suzi Woods, Prior Independent REBroker in MS

I have been exposed to Resident Screening and have found it useful. It includes a criminal background and judgements.

Apr 19, 2009 03:11 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,240,446
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Suzi - Resident Screening is more suited for multi-unit properties and since those of us who do not want to do criminal checks since doing ONE will mean doing them for ALL applicants, we use other resources which are more in line with credit scoring and FICO regulations. 

Over half of my residents are current homeowners elsewhere or have recently been homeowners so using the Resident Screening model is not compatible.

However, you post makes my point....in the "olden days", all of the past landlord, judgement, etc information was not available without going to the court and researching court/clerk files. 

Technology has made it possible to now get that information literally at our fingertips!!

Apr 19, 2009 10:44 PM #11
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