By Joe Killinger, RRD
Vacation home owners: You have a vacation home that you rent out to many leisurely guests in a year, many of them by way of peer to peer (P2P) websites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. Because most of your guests are respectful and are simply looking for a place to relax, shower, dress and sleep at the end of the day, you may have a history of little to no incidents. On the other hand, you may have experience of coming back home to stolen or broken items as a result of a house party, for example. Have you stopped to think about who you are letting into your property? Do they have a criminal history? Do they bring unauthorized guests into your home?
Although most sharing websites like these verify profiles through social media platforms and through submitting government-issued IDs, there is no process to vet users through background checks to make sure they do not have a criminal history. A user with bad intentions can easily portray to be someone else and submit another individual’s likeness, create social media pages in a matter of minutes, and produce fraudulent documents. The entire process is done online. How do they distinguish false identity documents from real ones? How do they know that the person claiming to be Jill Smith is in fact Jill Smith? A picture, Facebook profile and scans of a passport or a driver’s license are not enough.
Running a background check on your vacation renter enables you to make a more informed decision on who to allow in your home for a few nights, perhaps weeks. It is easy, takes less than 5 minutes and can be very reasonably priced. Tenant screening reports provide detailed information such as a National Criminal Records Search, credit report & score, and even incident reporting. An incident report will allow you to view any past lease violations from rental properties the individual has occupied.
If you’re an owner of multifamily property, then you are aware of the amount of influence a background check has on your decision on whether to accept or reject a vacation renter. Taking care of your investment by screening renters will pay dividends in the long run. Screening renters mean less maintenance, repair and home insurance costs. You will have peace of mind because your assets will be in better hands. Many of these users are often paying upwards of $300 per night for accommodations, however, this does not give them license to disrespect your home.