Using Social Media in the Tenant Screening Process

The internet has changed the way landlords and property managers screen tenants with social media becoming an increasingly popular tool in the tenant screening process. As a landlord, you can’t ignore the role social media can play in the tenant screening process. Here, we look at how landlords can use social media in tenant screening.

What is The Tenant Screening Process?

The tenant screening process involves performing background and credit checks to ensure that applicants have the means and the will to pay their rent on time. Verifying identity and past rental history is important to ensuring that the tenant meets the qualifications set by the landlord. As a property manager or landlord, you must understand the tenant screening process to ensure that you can find tenants who pay their rent on time and provide a safe and secure environment for your property.

How Landlords Can Use Social Media in the Tenant Screening Process

Social media can provide landlords with invaluable information about prospective tenants before a landlord even meets them in person. Here are some ways landlords can use social media during the tenant screening process:

1. Use the Internet to Research About the Person

Using the internet to research a person can provide landlords with valuable information about a prospective tenant. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can provide a wide range of information that can be used to assess the tenant’s character. This includes any posts or comments that could give an indication of the individual’s personality and lifestyle.

2. Use Online Reviews of Former Landlords

There are many tenant review sites online that can provide landlords with useful information about prospective tenants. These sites can provide insight into tenants’ rental history, their payment habits, and more.

3. Request a Copy of Their Profile

In some cases, tenants may have created their own social media profiles to provide information about their lifestyles and interests. Landlords can request a copy of this profile to better assess the tenant’s character before making a final decision.

4. Look at Species Reviews and Ratings

Tenants can also be assessed based on their species ratings and reviews. By looking at these reviews, landlords can get a better understanding of the tenant’s attitude towards their rental property and the other tenants in the building.

5. Analyze Content They Upload Regularly

Tenants can often provide information about themselves through the content they upload regularly to social media. This content can include pictures, videos, and other media that can help landlords understand the character and lifestyle of prospective tenants.

6. Check Financial Habits and Payment Histories

Landlords can use social media to determine a prospective tenant’s financial habits. This can include looking at payment histories, checking for any complaints with other tenants or landlords, and more.

7. Look for Any Red Flags

Landlords should use social media to look for any “red flags” that could be indicative of an individual’s character. This includes looking for any negative feedback, past criminal activity, and other issues that could potentially be a problem for the landlord.

8. Ask for References

A tenant’s social media presence can provide landlords with valuable information about the individual’s character. Asking for references from friends, family, or past landlords can provide tenants the opportunity to provide information about themselves.

Benefits of Using Social Media in the Tenant Screening Process

There are many benefits to using social media in the tenant screening process. Here are a few of the main benefits:

1. Time-Saving

Using social media in the tenant screening process can save landlords time. Social media can provide landlords with more information in a shorter amount of time. This allows them to assess and screen tenants more quickly and efficiently.

2. Accessibility

Social media gives landlords access to a vast amount of information about prospective tenants. This information can provide landlords with a better understanding of the individual’s character before meeting them in person.

3. Cost-Efficient

Social media is a cost-effective way to screen tenants. It is much cheaper than ordering background checks and credit reports and can provide landlords with valuable information about their prospective tenants without breaking the bank.


In conclusion, landlords should consider using social media in the tenant screening process. It can provide landlords with valuable insights into prospective tenants’ character, payment history, and more. This information can help landlords make more informed decisions when deciding who to rent their properties to.
Using Social Media in the Tenant Screening Process can save time, be cost-efficient, and provide more access to information than ever before. Social media can be a great tool in the tenant screening process if used correctly.

What are the legal implications of using social media in the tenant screening process?

There are potential legal risks associated with using social media in the tenant screening process. Landlords should be aware of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), privacy laws, and anti-discrimination laws when using social media to evaluate potential tenants.

The FCRA requires landlords to gain permission from rental applicants prior to accessing their credit report or background information. If a landlord decides to review an applicant’s public social media profiles, then they must provide the same notice of consent to access this information as any other background information they collect on potential rental applicants.

Privacy laws regulate what landlords can do with the information collected from social media. Landlords should be careful about using any information they obtain from an applicant’s social media profiles when making a rental decision.

Lastly, landlords must be aware of anti-discrimination laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids landlords from denying a rental or charging different rental terms based on a tenant’s race, national origin, sex, religion, or disability. Additionally, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes discrimination on the basis of familial status, including children, illegal. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit landlords from denying rental requests to tenants based on any protected class. Thus, landlords must be careful about not using information gleaned from social media that could lead to such a decision.

What information can a landlord request when screening tenants using social media?

A landlord may request any information relevant to verifying a tenant’s identity, such as full name, current address, contact information (e.g. phone number, email address, etc.), education history, employment history, rental/mortgage payment history, and references. A landlord may not request or use social media information to discriminate against potential tenants based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or any other discriminatory factor.

“Can a landlord deny an applicant based on social media information?”

Yes, a landlord may deny an applicant based on social media information, provided that the information is relevant to the rental criteria. For example, if the landlord finds that the applicant has violated the rental agreement based on their posts, they may be denied. However, the landlord must show that they used the same criteria for all applicants and not be discriminatory.

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