Tenants Use Social Media to Vet LLs

24 Replies

I inwardly cringe when when landlords post about "kicking tenants out" or other commonly used, but unprofessional, terms.  The internet is forever, and you never know when something you have innocently posted will come back to haunt you.

Now I have proof.  A poster on the Reddit subreddit "Sh*t Slumlords Say" is advising  tenants to vet landlords by searching on this site for posts from their landlords.  The intent is to prove your poor business practices/ attitudes when in legal disputes with your tenants.  

For some reason, I cannot get the link the post.  Hopefully someone smarter than I will do it.  Look in the Slumlords subreddit.  

I am surprised this threat did not get more traction. My reply will give it a bump.

But this issue is totally spot on although the actual Reddit article is a bit one sided.

They day one of my tenants commented on my BP post was they day I decide to edit my pic and not provide my full name. Sad but true. But I know for sure others have done the same. As a professional RE networking site we should be able to use full names and proper pics and many on here do. But this is a totally public site and in todays world we are only 1 google search away for anyone looking for us. With some of the stuff said on this site and some of the opinions combined with the litigation happy society we live in I am pretty sure someday a BP post will end up in front of a Judge. It might not decide a case but it might be a factor in a case for someone looking to make a point. 

When you manage a lot of properties and a lot of people its a huge risk. Owners and Managers google prospective tenants all the time. I am pretty sure they do the same.

Now while most of the posts on here are pretty harmless, we don't name names, we talk about business and usually just offer opinions there is many on here who offer opinions (particularly about tenants)  that I certainty would not want my name on in a public forum. You can contribute and get you point across here on BP just fine as "Mr Smith" as you can with your real name and not run the risk of somebody you know throwing it back in your face in a court room someday.  

Maybe I am too cautious and am talking nonsense. But some of the younger generation given the choice of an iPhone and Social Media VERSUS oxygen to breathe might chose to give up on the oxygen first!  

But this is the world we live in. A bit of caution is wise I think. 

The problem could be solved by making this a fully paid site as that would most likely block the "gawkers" but that would probably not be in the best interest of BP overall. 

Interesting that nobody else replied to your post. Would like to see some other opinions.

Wow! I didn’t get a chance to go through the article yet. But definitely a major point for me to think about. I appreciate you bumping the thread with a reply.
Personally, I do property management in a building where we have to deal with evictions all the time. Remember, evictions is bad for BOTH the landlord and the tenant. As a landlord you want a tenant who pays rent NOT one that costs hundreds in lawyer fees. You don’t want to “kick a tenant out” unfortunately, sometimes we’re forced to evict them.
That being said I wouldn’t want my tenants knowing how to track me down through BiggerPockets. There should be a degree of separation. Those are my thoughts anyway.
Great topic.

@Elliot Vann

Yep...its only when a landlord/tenant relationship goes sour that they go looking for you. And that will often included the internet. And then they are actively looking for dirt to get back at you.  And the funny thing is...most of the time its the folks who are 3 months behind on the rent or invited 10 other people to live with them...so they set out on a mission because they think we are the bad guys !!! 

Yea but how is it gonna go down in court?

“-He signed a lease, missed four months of payments, was dealing drugs out of his apartment, and disrupting the peace of the building.”

-“Yea, but I found a post on BiggerPockets saying he was happy to finally be getting rid of that filthy tenant”

Hmmmm....you don’t say....

Although, depends on what class building. If you really have an issue in a higher class building I guess they can give you a bad reputation. If they’re putting out lies about a landlord they can’t always be there to present the “truth.”

@Elliot Vann I hear you. But give a good attorney some ammo and he might just be able to use it. 

Originally posted by @Ronan M. :

@Elliot Vann I hear you. But give a good attorney some ammo and he might just be able to use it. 

 Or use for a Fair Housing complaint.  Fair Housing fines can run into tens of thousands of dollars, and the burden of proof is much less.

I agree with Ronan M.

I don’t want my full name on the public, in case anything I said it accidentally wrong on the web site and get bite by somebody (like tenants or whoever) in the future.

But I want to express my truth feelings and my truth opinion here BP, to protect myself, I use fake name. It can protect myself, at the same time, I can speak freely.

Even if you're still professional on here, if you're posting about the issue, they might find a way to use it against you. We have had tenants create accounts on here and respond back to the very thread a landlord posted about them.

I recommend setting your profile to not show your full last name at a minimum.

Wow so thankful for this. I run my units trough an LLC, and a PM so its likely they wouldn't find my name, but who knows. I will probably do some without the PM, so Im pretty sure they will know my name. I removed my last name, change location(which you have to have to post), do not index my name ( I think that blocks searches of my name), hidden email, because it contains my last name, and will make my "about me" more vague.

Just searched my name and bigger pockets on internet explorer, and google. every post I had made.  There are some ways to hide stuff from search engines, but its real techy. might just delete the account

In Ontario when we serve a delinquent tenant an eviction notice we are required to put our Home Addeess...so the Tribunal (kangaroo court) can mail me a copy.

A couple years back - my tenant - who was 3mths in arrears got my home address & showed up at my house at dinner. That was the last time I used my Home Add on these or on any Posts or Social Anything!

Never know when Crazy John will show up - drunk & ready to fight!

I think it is important to always be aware that we represent a very disliked group of people. My state and media reminds me of this almost daily and unfortunately they have too many scumbag slumlords to wag a judgmental finger at.

I am always aware of the optics of my posts regardless of whether they can be tied back to me or not. 

This is a very good post and good reminder for all of us. From day one I chose not to put my full name for this very reason.
I recently started using Facebook Marketplace, listening to one of BP podcast gave me the idea. I was surprise how many leads I got. I made sure to edit my name and check my privacy settings in Facebook before posting an ad. I still wanted to share a little info about myself so potential tenants would feel comfortable responding.
Would be cool if someone from BP can respond to this thread, it’s important to protect all members and make sure our opinions can’t be used against us...

I have a P.O. box for all my rentals, so I don’t need to use my personal home address during eviction.
the P.O. Box address can be used during eviction process

All my tenants know exactly where I live. I know where they live so why should they not know where I live.

I have been on internet forums for 15+ years and have tried to never provided any accurate information that would give away my identity. Having said that there is no way in this day and age that anyone can not be identified and tracked down. There is no such thing as privacy.

I my case I keep my identity private to avoid the prying eyes of poverty pimps that are regularly monitoring forums looking for tenant rights violations.

Great thread! I made some changes to my profile based off of recommendations on this post.

We ALL know where you live @Thomas S. ......your house is on your profile pic LOL !!

( Unrelated. I enjoy all of your posts here on BP)

Yes, regarding the need to put your address on some paperwork that the tenant might recieve, this is why it's important to set up another mailing address beforehand just for this use! Keep in mind that you may not be able to use the PO Box format for all paperwork, but you can get away with using a post office box address if you use "Street Addressing"...or a UPS mailbox. It comes down to the format of how the address is written; I once had someone ask if the mailing address I provided was my physical address. While it's truly not, it's my business-use address, so I just stayed firm and said, yes this is the address you will need to use to reach me. No way is my home address going onto any business paperwork.

I don't worry about this. My last eviction was over three years ago. The tenant dug up everything she could find about me online and attempted to show I was behaving illegally. The judge shut her down because I had not acted illegally or unethically.

She brought up a blog post that was written specifically about her. She was not named, the property was not described, and there were no defining factors that anyone could tie to her without personal knowledge of the situation. Her argument was not against the facts I stated in the blog; her complaint was that I compared her to a blowfish! It was a legitimate analogy, not a personal insult, but the judge actually got a chuckle out of it. His only response: he advised me to be careful about what I write in public forums.

"your house is on your profile pic LOL !!"

Nope. I am way ahead of putting anything on here that is personal. Nothing about my profile is accurate. Not name, location, picture or anything else. That picture was one I took from the interweb when I was gathering ideas for landscaping for a property I was flipping many years ago. 

There is no way I would operate my business on the web. I prefer to stay small time and fly under the radar to protect my business interests and my tenants. Far too many "rights and privileges" accorded individuals today to do otherwise. My business interests will always come first.

I think I would prefer it if my tenants DID look me up online. I work hard to be straightforward and upfront in my approach and it would be nice if they had some confirmation that I meant exactly what I said and was going to do exactly what I said I was going to do.

It really isn't your tenants that you need to worry about it is the ones you evict and the applicants you deny that are searching the net for dirt.

And of course the housing police, social rights activists etc. 

This was inevitable. I have a similar story which caused me to use Google Voice during the rental listing process, and also set up social media blocks early on.

My Dad is a physician and also a landlord of several nicer condos in a large metro area. He self-manages them but after being burned once, he has been strict with his rental criteria so tenants have typically been highly educated, and responsible. Rarely if ever do we get a call throughout the year from them.

However, we had one highly qualified tenant who happened to be an alcoholic. He would get drunk and threaten his neighbors.

During our process of getting him kicked out, the victim of his threats started to slander my Dad on physician rating websites, saying “Dr. ________ rents his places to low life’s who threaten to kill people”, etc.

Had no business being on there, obviously had no relevance to his ability as a medical provider, and the issue was being handled in the appropriate manner but it still goes on some “social media/rating” site that he has no control over but patients may look at.

Dangerous world...

I suppose it is a crazy world like that. Maybe I will change my profile. I happen to take great care to ensure my tenants are treated fairly but I suppose there may always be a bad apple looking to bring you down.

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