BP - MySmartMoves - Missed Detecting an Eviction

17 Replies

Hi BPer, 

For those who have been using MySmartMoves service through BP. 

Do you have any issue? The MySmartMoves background check has been my go-to place for tenant screening. Unfortunately, my previous screening, the reports (background, eviction, credit) came out perfect. For sanity check, I just typed in the name of the applicant in www.masscourts.org, then BAM, the lady had an eviction like 3 years ago.

Now, I am pretty nervous about using the service. I called the customer service, and he was pretty nice about it. He told me that he will take note, but he could not submit a ticket for investigation on my behalf. The applicant is the only person that can request the investigation. Go figure right ..... @Joshua Dorkin , what is your thought on this if any at all?

-Chan-

Wow, that's scary.  I use the site as well and I've probably overly-relied on the results.  Thanks for posting this Chan.

I would just use a commercial service geared to professional property managers, etc. An eviction will show up as a judgment, and if MySmartMoves missed that, they are probably brokering less granular data (detail = $). 

Same issue happened to me (but a different service).

I have used a screening service that missed an eviction on the eviction search, but it showed up on the credit report.  When I contacted the service, they stated that only 2 parishes in my state participated in the eviction and criminal search and mine was not one of them!

It shows you that you just can't rely on one source for screening....

Originally posted by @Chan K. :

Hi BPer, 

For those who have been using MySmartMoves service through BP. 

Do you have any issue? The MySmartMoves background check has been my go-to place for tenant screening. Unfortunately, my previous screening, the reports (background, eviction, credit) came out perfect. For sanity check, I just typed in the name of the applicant in www.masscourts.org, then BAM, the lady had an eviction like 3 years ago.

Now, I am pretty nervous about using the service. I called the customer service, and he was pretty nice about it. He told me that he will take note, but he could not submit a ticket for investigation on my behalf. The applicant is the only person that can request the investigation. Go figure right ..... @Joshua Dorkin , what is your thought on this if any at all?

-Chan-

 Hi Chan: Thanks so much for posting this. We landlords need all the help we can get to try and weed out the baddies. Checking your regional Court Records is always the best way to go, because they do not lie. People are just now starting to use the Bad Tenant Websites, so they aren't reliable either; maybe in the future, they will become the norm, as checking credit reports as become by now, although there are still those backward landlords who don't even do that! Here in California, an eviction (Unlawful Detainer) does not show up on court records for about 3 months, making it possible for jerks to find another place to live in the meantime, but have no fear, they will probably be evicted again and get caught the next time. I always sue in Small Claims when tenants move out voluntarily but owe me money; the Judgment shows up on both their court records AND their credit reports for 7 years, so it's worth it. This is not very expensive and is easy to do without a lawyer; they usually don't even show up in court, so the Judgment is automatic and at least there is that much satisfaction. Best of luck to all of us!

@Chan K. - I'll let our partners at SmartMove know about this and I'm sure they'll jump in here with some feedback.

So if you want to be thorough in your screening, then you must get a full credit report that shows the address history for the applicant. Then you look up the owner for all addresses in the address history (being specific for the period of time in which that history has them residing at a specific address).  Next you contact those owners. 

If your state is like MA or PA (hurray, PA now allows this), you can use a statewide website to look up eviction records for a named individual. And if there is a match to name and date of birth, or addresses match those from the address history - then you have with high certainty found a legitimate eviction. 

If they have resided in multiple states, you might not be able to identify all of that, but you will be better served if you at least try. 

Getting just a score or accept/decline answer just doesn't cut it IMO ...

@Steve Babiak

Absolutely great screening practices!  I do similar things.

I especially need to be careful with landlord references as these are often friends and relatives.  If the review is "too perfect" or the landlord is too eager to please, then I am a little suspicious.  Also, the proposed landlords often don't have correct information such as address, rental amount, etc.  I just had two recently that were bogus.  One landlord didn't have the correct rental amount. On the second,  I didn't even bother using the number for the landlord on the application as the same phone number matched the prospective tenant's phone number.  I actually knew the other landlord and called him directly. Therefore, I try to find the owner through public records or other sources if it is a private owner.  Apartment complexes are usually clear cut, but sometimes I have difficulty getting the rental verification form back.

I would rather have my place sit vacant than to get a professional tenant.

Sometimes I feel like a Private Investigator...........

What amazes me is that I have been doing this a long time and have only gotten 2 phone calls for rental verification.

@Steve Babiak   Steve, can you save me some googlng and let me know the website for Pennsylvania?

thanks

l

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @David S. :

@Steve Babiak

Absolutely great screening practices!  I do similar things.

I especially need to be careful with landlord references as these are often friends and relatives.  If the review is "too perfect" or the landlord is too eager to please, then I am a little suspicious.  Also, the proposed landlords often don't have correct information such as address, rental amount, etc.  I just had two recently that were bogus.  One landlord didn't have the correct rental amount. On the second,  I didn't even bother using the number for the landlord on the application as the same phone number matched the prospective tenant's phone number.  I actually knew the other landlord and called him directly. Therefore, I try to find the owner through public records or other sources if it is a private owner.  Apartment complexes are usually clear cut, but sometimes I have difficulty getting the rental verification form back.

I would rather have my place sit vacant than to get a professional tenant.

Sometimes I feel like a Private Investigator...........

What amazes me is that I have been doing this a long time and have only gotten 2 phone calls for rental verification.

That's hilarious, you mean the applicant didn't even use Google Voice to mask his actual number?

Originally posted by @Robert M. :

@Steve Babiak  Steve, can you save me some googlng and let me know the website for Pennsylvania?

thanks

l

The moderators removed this once already, don't know why since it is not promotional - just the link to the state's court records:

https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/docketsheets.aspx

Rumor has it that the county prothonotary records might become available statewide so if that becomes reality it would probably be found as a link on the same page. But for now the counties each control access to their own prothonotary records. 

Hello @Chan K. ,

I am a representative with TransUnion SmartMove. We would be happy to research these records further if you would like. Send an email to us and include the email address of your renter and a description of the records in question. We will contact you directly. Thanks!

@Sam Leon

Not at all!

The landlord number was actually listed on their supporting documents (i.e. bank statement) as their number, which gave it away.  I had a second way to determine that was the incorrect number because since I knew the landlord, his number was in my phone. Before I saw the bank statement, I actually asked the person why it was a long distance number, since the landlord was local. "Oh he moved away" was the response. 

Like I said, you need to be a PI.

People have all sorts of scams and lies trying to rent from you.  It is up to you to do due diligence. Look for red flags and inconsistencies.

@Meghan Reed

 You are welcome. I am glad I can share and help. 

@Meggie, I agreed that a small claim court will be good to get the bad behavior in court. The claim title or complain should be "None Ray of Rent". 

@Joshua Dorkin There might be a bug with the scroll in chrome browser when there are many responses. If you do shift + @ + ? and try to scroll to pick name, it won't work. When you try to scroll, the "shift + @ + ?" is reset. Something to think about ...

@Steve Babiak Can you let us know the site you are referring to if it is not masscourts.org [Steve] "you can use a statewide website to look up eviction records for a named individual.". I meant the MA state look up ...

@Sam Leon Some of these B/C tenants are not as techy as you Sam. Sometime, you need to use language conversion to talk to them.

Hi Chan,

I am very interested in your results with the services you purchased.

I want to know your outcome.

Paul D

Originally posted by :

...

@Steve Babiak Can you let us know the site you are referring to if it is not masscourts.org [Steve] "you can use a statewide website to look up eviction records for a named individual.". I meant the MA state look up ...

...

I actually have used the site in your OP. Tenant of mine is a name match for one in MA that is a tenant from #&!!, and the bad tenant is still in MA with even more evictions, while my tenant with same name is living in PA. 

The exact same thing happened to me with smart move. I posted about it on another thread. I went on the information they provided and rented to a tenant who never made a payment after the first and security. I literally just evicted him yesterday. His prior eviction was plain as day on my county records website and his eviction report came back clean from smartmove. They offered to talk to me about it but I feel it's just a waste of time. They're not going to reimburse the money that was lost renting to the tenant and he paid for the app but reimbursing me for that would be a joke.

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