tenant background check

How a tenant background check helps you ensure you know who’s living in your building. 

You might imagine that fake names and forged documents are a thing of the past. That our advanced technology and identification methods make it harder for people to assume fake names than it once was, and that this rarely happens anymore. That’s not entirely true.

In fact, in 2007, a Nigerian woman named Ochala Ojonugwa enrolled at a university in Nottingham, in the UK, using a fake name and passport. Not only had she already overstayed her visa, but she later managed to get a 20,000-pound bursary to continue her studies!

In July of 2015, there was a similar case in Portland, when Mukonkole Huge Kifwa, 30, originally from Congo, assumed a fake name, stayed in the U.S. illegally, and defrauded several banks.

Countless other stories from first world countries tell the same story: false identities are more common than we like to think, and if you’re renting property, they are one of the things you should be concerned about. Here is what you need to consider when it comes to your tenant’s names.

Get All Their Names

The first tip we have when it comes to making sure that your prospective tenants are who they say they are is to get all of their names. Make sure that you get middle names and maiden names, as well as any aliases or nicknames they may be known by. Also consider asking whether they have ever used any other names. After all, it’s not unheard of for people to legally change their name, and you might be missing out on some vital information otherwise.

All of these can make it easier to conduct a thorough tenant background check on prospective residents, and to avoid any possibility of mistaken identity.

Check Various Spellings and Versions

When it comes to official records, remember that they aren’t always infallible. Every once in a while, a spelling error or different version of a name can creep into the system, and relevant records might slip through the cracks.

Beware of Records That Are Too Clean

While you probably don’t want to rent property to tenants who have a long history of bankruptcy or criminal activity, you also want to make sure that the tenant you are looking into doesn’t have to clean a record. If you can’t find any information about them at all, there’s a good chance that they may be using an assumed name.

If you can’t find any information about a prospective tenant, you may want to have a conversation with them, and find out why. There may be a simple explanation, but you might also find out some less than favorable details about their past.

Trust the Professionals

Running a name-based tenant background check may seem simple, but there are many pitfalls, as you can see. From deliberately fake names to spelling mistakes, and married names to nicknames and aliases, there’s a lot that can muddy the waters when it comes to tenant background checks. If there’s any doubt, it’s best to leave it to the professionals, so you can get the whole picture, and make an informed decision.

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