NATIONWIDE BANKRUPTCIES, TAX LIENS, & CIVIL JUDGMENTS Since the three major credit bureaus no longer include tax liens and judgments on credit reports, the savvy landlord will need to order a separate nationwide search for bankruptcies, tax liens and civil judgments. A tax lien is a lien imposed by law upon a property to secure the payment of taxes while a civil judgment is a ruling against a defendant in a court of law. The judgment can arise from small claims, unpaid debts or property damage because of negligence. Any of these is of vital importance to a landlord when considering a possible tenant. FEDERAL CRIMINAL SEARCH Unfortunately, the world is full of nefarious people that you do not want to have as renters. A criminal check might tell you if they have been in trouble with the law over the last seven years, but it won’t
tell you if the person is a counterfeiter, smuggler, mail fraudster, aircraft hijacker, kidnapper or identity thief. The Federal Criminal Search uncovers case information from Federal District Courts. Searching on the federal level can reveal high-level crimes such as white-collar crimes, fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion and more. As you can see, depending on insufficient information, intuition and luck are just not enough these days when you are deciding who to entrust your property to. Renting your investment property without a comprehensive and thorough background/credit screening can be the costliest mistake you may ever make. Renting to the wrong tenant can cause you untold grief—both financial and emotional. Protect your investment by learning all the facts about your tenants before they sign that lease and take possession of your keys.
NANCY ABRAMS Assistant Editor American Apartment Owners Association (866) 579-2262 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Abrams has enjoyed a long career in real estate marketing throughout Southern California and Las Vegas. She formerly represented 19 Merrill Lynch Realty branch offices, property managers The Roberts Companies, new home developers, including master planned communities Peccole Ranch and The Valencia Company and shopping centers for Sandy Sigel of NewMark Merrill.
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