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How Skip Tracing Can Help You Find MIA Tenants

Tenants. One day, they’re making a nuisance in your building. The next, they’re gone, and all that’s left of them is the damage they left in your apartment. Holes in the wall, shattered windows, broken appliances, and more.

This makes up a landlord’s worst nightmare, especially if the safety deposit doesn’t cover the repairs. To add insult to injury, you have nowhere to send the bill when your tenant pulls a disappearing act.

When faced with this devastating situation, what can you do? Skip tracing methods may help you track down your money.

What is Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is the process of locating someone, usually a debtor who has overdue bills. In this context, skip tracing helps landlords pin down tenants who move out without notice and leave behind unpaid rent and/or property damage.

How Do You Skip Trace?

A successful skip tracing strategy uses all the available tools to track down the person in question. As a landlord, you may contact the USPS to see if you have any options to find their new address. You may also consider tapping their social media accounts or performing a public records search.

Just be wary of what information you use to kickstart your trace. There may be regulations limiting how you use your ex-tenant’s information that you collected in the rental application. Things like Social Security Numbers, driver’s licenses, and banking information may be protected depending on where you live.

A Tenant Debt Recovery Team Can Help

If your attempts at playing detective don’t work, don’t give up. Consider bringing your case to a tenant debt recovery team. Many tenant collection services will include skip tracing resources at no extra cost.

The best collection agency for landlords in your situation will have a licensed private investigator heading their skip tracing department.  They have access to locate databases and other industry tools, which means they can carry out a more thorough search for your tenant than you can alone.

Take the time to research the best collection agency for landlords in your area. You can do this by typing your city into a Google search along with keywords like “tenant debt collection.” This will bring up thousands of results in a blink of an eye.

Cross-reference the top results with their online reputation. Websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and WalletHub host reviews with insights into how well a company’s tenant debt recovery strategies work.

How to Prevent This from Happening Again

Tenant collection services’ skip tracing team may have a good chance of recovering rent and repair costs, especially if you use an accredited company with a great reputation.

But why let it get this bad if you can avoid it?

While there’s no guarantee you’ll avoid a tenant hellbent on causing destruction, you can learn how to protect your investment property better. Screen future tenants carefully before you draw up a lease and set an appropriate deposit for your property.

A more thorough tenant screening process may add more work upfront, but it can save you a lot of money in preventing damages.