In today’s online age, landlords have so much information easily available. Thanks to social media, court registries and other sites, they can find out a lot more about you than what you’ve told them. Legally a landlord cannot make a decision on you based on social media research, but how can you really know what they’ve seen. If you tell a landlord that you don’t smoke and they find your photo on Facebook …whether it’s old or new… and you’ve got a cigarette hanging out of your mouth, there’s a good chance you will not get a showing.
Here are some tips to cleaning up your online presence.
Google yourself. Are you happy with what you find? It’s extremely important that you protect your reputation online and take steps to show yourself in the best possible light to whomever may be looking.
Hide your profile but give a little. Make sure your social media profiles are set to private. On Facebook, you have the option to make a few photos public and I would encourage you to select a few good shots to do so. Landlords want to see a little peak into who you are so give them what they want. Perhaps it’s a photo of you and your dog on a hike, or one of you volunteering.
Review your likes. Watch what pages you “like” on Facebook especially if they are related to cannabis. This is usually a red flag for landlords.
Do a deep search. Pipl is one site that conducts a deep web search for someone’s name. Some landlords have gone to these lengths to research prospective tenants.
Stay out of trouble. Savvy landlords do a traffic/criminal search online. Would your name come up? Take a look – https://justice.gov.bc.ca/cso/esearch/criminal/partySearch.do
Look good for a landlord. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. LinkedIn helps you develop a strong digital footprint which is essential to finding employment and housing.
Today’s landlords are doing almost as much research on you as potential employers. Make sure your online presence is squeaky clean.
Equally, tenants who are not online at all can be considered risky. Landlords want to verify a few of the facts they’ve been told. So if you’re not online, at least build yourself some sort of professional online presence through LinkedIn or Facebook.