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The dream of finding the perfect tenant

Buying a property and renting it out may seem like a good way to gain an extra income and at the same time, some “assistance” in paying off the loan. But how many home-owners or investors have actually achieved the dream of finding the perfect tenant?

Unfortunately, finding the perfect tenant is easier said than done. With many owners and investors facing problematic tenants who do not pay their rents and bills (causing owners to turn to the PropSocial community for help as seen here and here), while some have to go through the ordeal of meeting outright law-breaking tenants.

So how do you avoid difficult and possibly even psychotic tenants? By rolling out spy-like background checks on potential tenants of course! Don’t worry, it won’t involve stake-outs in front of their workplaces or putting a “bug” (listening device for those of you who don’t speak spy) in their homes.

Tracking their internet foot print

In simple terms- Google them.

1. Name

Begin by typing in their full name into Google and hit “enter”. You’ll be amazed by the results you can get. But if their names are too common, it might take a little extra work, which leads us to the next point…

2. Email address

Unlike names, email addresses are unique as most email providers do not allow duplicates. Which is good for us spies, as they leave a more prominent fingerprint of our targets on the world wide web.

To do this, first get hold of his/her email address (in whatever way you see fit) and run a search of it on Google. If they’ve used this email address in forums or blogs, then you’re bound to find out what they post on those sites as well as any comments they left on posts.

Extra tip: Most people have several emails on different email providers, but oddly (or luckily for us), most maintain the same handle when signing up for other emails. So if someone’s email address is, he might use alex123 for other email addresses, user names, nick names and so. Do a quick search of that handle and see what turns up.

3. Phone number

Phone numbers could also end up on the internet, whether or not that person knows or intentionally puts it up. Search his/her phone number on google and you may just find out details like whether your potential tenant could be a part time piano teacher (“Weekend piano lessons: Call 012-345 6789”) or even part of some elaborate scam (“Beware of 012-345 6789, tried to trick me into believing my car was being repossessed by the bank!”).

Peeking into their lives on social media

Social media platforms, especially Facebook, has been an open book for people to read into the lives of others- including home-owners and investors who want to read into the people they might hand the keys of their properties over to.

Do a quick search of the names or email addresses of potential tenants and get a preliminary reading of them by what’s public on their walls. You could also put your undercover skills to work and set up a fabricated Facebook account to add him/her. Getting them to accept the request might take some extra skills, like using the photo of an attractive person (of the opposite sex).

Extra tip: If your target is the extra-cautious type, try to add someone else on his/her friends list as they are more likely to approve your request if there’s a mutual friend.

Facebook is a great way to see into the thoughts and lives of your potential tenants. You don’t have to be a psychologist to see red flags if there are constant status updates like “Didn’t pay my bills for 3 months. Sooo don’t care, gonna leave it to the owner! #YOLO” or photographs of people trashing furniture at a home party with the caption “That’s how a house party should be! Take that landlord! #notpayingforthat”.

This can also be done on almost any other social media or networking platforms like Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram etc..

Briefcase of advanced tricks

This particular set of skills may be more applicable to potential tenants who have their own website or blog. The first step is to go to this site and enter the URL of the website/blog belonging to your target. Information about the registrar, such as name, phone number, email address and so on can be found.

You can also find out what other sites he/she owns just by entering the URL into this other site. After that, sift through an archive of everything he/she has ever posted with this last site, including those that they thought were deleted.

With great power comes great responsibility

Now that you know some of these spy-like tricks to doing background checks, with this great knowledge should come utmost sense of responsibility. Use these skills wisely, or rather what this article set out to do, to know who your potential tenants are before renting to them!

If there are problematic and dangerous tenants, of course, there are also petty and conniving landlords. So here’s a few tips on how to avoid rental scams if you are looking to rent a property.

DISCLAIMER: is not responsible for what you choose to do with this newfound knowledge of snooping skills, so please don’t do anything illegal with them.

What do you do when you “feel” that something’s not right with a potential tenant? Would you do a background check on them? Share your thoughts (or any other spy skills you have) that could help owners and investors avoid bad tenants in the comments below or join in the Discussions!



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Lol the power of Google is mighty, and scary.

Own dp small

Agreed with such precaution act before renting out. But sometimes, we just don't have enough information to search on the web.

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Good article from propsocial!

How about checking with the local police for any criminal records if renting to an individual? 

Or if renting to a company. We can check with SSM? 

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@domng, Wah! To that extend??? It's a good idea though. Better be safe than sorry :)

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Renting to company you may check CTOS

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or check with CCRIS, which is managed by Bank Negara... not sure if it applies checking for registered companies or individuals?

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Company I think check with SSM

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if the tenant require your commercial unit address in order to register with SSM...

should the owner be extra cautious?

Kate chew small

If you are appointing agents to help you rent out your unit, perhaps your agent should be the one doing the screening and filtering. 

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Yes, agree with you. Hope all agents really do their part to screen potential tenants, and not just in for the 1 month commission.

Kate chew small

Dominic, usually they are required too. Most owners also have their own requirements and criteria when it comes to accepting their tenants, like some owners insisting on no students or no families with children and most commonly no coloured skin tenants (mainly people from nigeria). Quite difficult for agent sometimes to put this across to the tenant because it's quite sensitive when racism is concern. 

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Can't agree with you more. But at the end of the day, if a tenant is a good paymaster and takes good care of the rented property... I don't think owners should discriminate.

James bond craig junio2006 small

I guess, we won't know if the tenant is a good paymaster or not until they start renting our place. And by then, if they are a horrible paymaster it'll be too late. As an owner, I can totally understand why most owners pick and choose the background of their tenants though. With the amount of bad paymaster stories, the crime happening and how they trash your whole unit until you have to spend a bomb renovating all over again....... Gives me the shivers.....

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Worst case... They declare themselves to run a legitimate business in the tenancy agreement... but in actual fact the tenants are running an illegal gambling business at the back... 

Kate chew small

@james_bob Agree with you. I myself have witness quite a number of scam cases and the poor owners have to deal and clean up all these mess. So, can't really blame them for being selective and careful.

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Can you please share with us the modus operandi of the scams involved?

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Thanks for sharing

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what if there are no results in the internet lol? Since everyone can fake their names & IDs nowadays

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Can try to engage a private investigator. LoL

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@domng haha. Wasting more money then earning from rental. hahaha

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thanks for the info, great for sharing

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Protect each other

Thanks for sharing

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The CCRIS score is a good indicator of a tenant's ability to pay the monthly rental.

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As public, we can access to other individual's CCRIS report?

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I believe it is not possible for third party to access your CCRIS score.

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@admin_ps good sharing