Over one in 10 landlords (11%) check Facebook and other social media accounts to screen tenants before letting them live in their property, Foundation Home Loans has found.
Information gathered could include everything from job and career history right through to friends and lifestyle.
Jeff Knight, marketing director, Foundation Home Loans, said: “Buy-to-let is a business, so it’s only natural that landlords would want to vet their potential tenants just as an employer would a potential employee.
“While Facebook and social media accounts may not be the best source of information if used in isolation, they can offer valuable insight when set against other checks such as personal references and credit checks.
“After all, maintaining a good rental income is a priority and void periods can be particularly damaging, so it’s important to ensure this is not a risk when new tenants move in.”
Given one in seven (14%) of landlords said they visit their properties once a month to meet with tenants and make any necessary repairs, a view on the characters living there is evidently important.
However, there are other methods of screening tenants also used by landlords. Just under a third (29%) choose to interview them to help decide whether they are right for the property.
Personal references are chosen by 34% as a happy medium, allowing them to understand personalities whilst maintaining a reasonable distance.
Revealing an age difference in how landlords choose to go about their screening, employer references are preferred by more 18-34-year-old landlords (38%) while previous landlord references are valued by those aged 35-54 and 55 and over (41% and 33% respectively).
When it comes to preferences for tenant types, middle-aged couples are singled out by 21% of landlords, with the view that they are less likely to damage the property.
This is followed by families with children (16%) as they are more likely to stay in the property for the long-term, and young singles (8%) for the same reason.