As a landlord, you may face many challenges when managing your rental properties. One of the most frustrating challenges is recovering money that is owed to you if a tenant leaves and hasn’t paid their rent. Tracking down deadbeat ex-tenants can seem like a lot of trouble, but the money they owe is lost income that you deserve to be paid, so don’t give up too quickly. Even if they didn’t leave a forwarding address, you can still track down non-paying ex-tenants if you use these three techniques.
Use social media
It seems as though everyone is active on social media these days, and that can be great news for you, especially if your deadbeat ex-tenant is active on Facebook or other social media platforms. Try messaging the person who owes you money and simply request that they make some arrangements to pay what they owe. Be nice, and you may be surprised to find that they are willing to pay you back fairly quickly.
If you have no luck with this approach, you could try using one of Facebook's more unique features, the geo-tagging tool. This tool marks the photos posted with a location, so at least you'll know if the person is still in town. Be careful not to use social media to harass or stalk your former tenant. It's not worth breaking the law to try to get your money back.
Contact their employer
If you can’t find your money online, try finding the person who owes you by contacting their employer. If an employer was listed on the rental agreement, you can approach them and try to track down the person who owes you money.
You don’t have to go into detail about the reason why you are looking for the individual; just explain that you are a former landlord who is trying to locate their employee. Be careful with how much you share with the employer, however much you want your money back. Your goal shouldn't be to embarrass your former tenant, or make them lose their job, so be tactful and responsible if you take this approach to locating your money.
While there’s no guarantee that your former tenant will still be at the same place of employment, it’s at least a good place to start looking. Plus, because your former tenant may not want their employer to know that they skipped out on their rent, they may be more willing to settle up with you quietly, and quickly.
Check with their personal references
If the rental agreement was thorough, there’s a chance you obtained one or more personal reference before leasing the property. If you have these, you can contact the people listed and try to locate your ex-tenant, and your money, that way.
When dealing with a person who knows, and likely cares for, the person you are tracking, you need to use a little finesse when using this method. Don’t go into detail about why you are looking for the person, since it may not be common knowledge that they left without paying their rent.
This method can be time consuming, especially if you have to call several times in order to reach a reference. Again, there’s no guarantee that the people you call will be helpful, but it’s worth a shot.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the money that’s owed to you, even if you find the deadbeat ex-tenant you are looking for. Still, it’s better than simply walking away and losing the money that is rightfully yours.
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