How Safe Is Your Roommate?
When choosing the perfect roommate, whether you are the tenant or the landlord, a little common sense and due diligence should be a pre-requisite before making your decision. Several factors come into play for both the landlord and the tenant.
As a landlord, you are bringing a relative stranger into your household who could prove to be the perfect way to offset your costs, or turn into an additional expense for you to bear. First of all, you will want to judge the prospective tenant's fiscal responsibility. The information to do this can be gathered by requesting a consumer report (credit report) on this individual. To do this you will need to have a signed authorization from this individual and contact any number of consumer reporting agencies. To supplement the consumer report the data you will obtain from the report, it is a good idea to also contact your prospective tenant's previous landlords for references and rental history. They will give you a good idea as to exactly what kind of person this is and what behavior that you might expect from them. Your next step will be to check the individual's criminal record. "You certainly would not want to introduce a thief into your household. You can accomplish this by contacting either the county's court clerk in which they lived and possibly surrounding metropolitan county courts or contact a background investigative company to perform this for you." says Charles Slagle, Chief Investigator for NCRS, Inc. Finally it would be wise to verify their employment. Ensure that they give you a main number to business so that you can verify that it is a business you have reached and not just one of their friends that they may have posing as their supervisor for them. It also does not hurt to verify the number through your local yellow pages or information. I have found personal references to be of little or no use since a prospective tenant will rarely give personal reference that would be negative. These things and a bit of common sense should help produce a fruitful tenant for you.
When you are the tenant looking for a roommate/landlord the criteria changes slightly, but the basic concepts remain the same. "You want to ensure that you are partnering with a creditworthy landlord who is as fiscally responsible as they desire for you to be," said Mr. Slagle. Financial ability is as important to them as it should be to you. You will need to make certain that the roommate/landlord has the ability financially to keep the roof over your head and to maintain the utilities. Regardless if you are able to pay your portion of the bills and rent, the responsibility falls on the roommate/landlord to complete the payment. Your next concern is the possibility of a criminal record on the part of the landlord. Todd Lamb, President of Trinity Research added, "For safety's sake you would not want a landlord that has been convicted of an assault or a sexual crime." You can investigate their background in the same manner as the landlord would check on yours or you may want to utilize one of many websites that offer to do this for you. Criminalbackground.com is our site of choice for their economical and easy to use site. Also, whenever I have a question a staff member is always around to help by phone or email." Said Sheryl Pennington, Property Manager for Carlton Court in Dallas, Texas.
So, regardless if you are the tenant or the landlord looking for a roommate, taking some time to research the prospect can yield a more productive roommate relationship.
About the Author: Since 1989 dan the roommate man has helped 1000's of people find good roommates. www.roommateexpress.com