Tenants, what does your social media say about you?

Social media, the majority of us will have an account on one platform or another.  Whether you like to keep in touch with friends and family through Facebook, or love the more visual aspect of Instagram, we all have our favourites.  But what does your social media account say about you?  And how would a potential landlord perceive it?

It has been documented for a while that employers and recruitment firms have used social media as another way of reviewing potential candidates.  But recently it has been brought to our attention that landlords are also using the same process to decide if a tenant is right for their property.

“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,” said Jeff Knight, Marketing Director at Foundation Home Loans.

The Foundation Home Loans research found that, currently, around 11% of landlords check Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts in an effort to screen tenants before making the decision to allow them to rent their property. 

Although at present this is not something we undertake as part of the relevant checks on prospective tenants for the properties we manage on behalf of local landlords, we are aware that this practice is on the rise.  Social media can give a landlord an insight into information, such as career history, current job, friends, lifestyle and also behaviour.

A social media account can give an impression of a person, often a more detailed account than what we receive on an application form.  It can show us their interests, their likes and dislikes and give a more rounded overview than what’s on paper alone.

It is therefore important that you understand how your social media can impact your future.  Your social media account is also your personal expression and a place where you communicate your passions, desires and, let’s face it, have a moan or two every now and again.  As they say, only put on there what you want the world to see.

What should you be aware of?

Think about the profile picture you use. We all like to change them around and have some fun, and we’re not trying to take the fun out of using social media, just recommending that you be mindful of how the picture you choose represents you.  Your profile picture can be seen by anyone; this is, in a way, the first impression you’re giving.

You should also read over what you have placed in your ‘About’ section. You may have left it blank, said something witty or completely daft because you’re only friends with people you want to be friends with.  A landlord will not look to ‘friend you’ but they may view your About section to see if they can find out a little more about who you are.

What does your social media profile say about you?  If you are looking to rent a property or even looking for a new job, it’s worth taking a little time to review your social media accounts to ensure they are giving the right impression.