If you are a potential real estate investor or even a tenant, how do you check on the owner of a rental property? Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals. Here is this week’s question:

Dear Landlord Hank,

How can I check on an owner of a property?


Dear Anthony,

Let me tell you how I check on owners.

As a property manager, I want to make sure the owner of the rental property that I am being asked to rent, is in good standing with homeowners association (HOA if there is one) and also is not in pre-foreclosure or foreclosure with the lender, again, if there is one.

I start off by asking the owner these questions and telling them I need to be able to verify these things. If HOA won’t tell me this information even with permission from owner, then I ask owner to provide letter of good standing with HOA.

You don’t want to rent a property that is in foreclosure without being aware of the situation.

Look for signs of deferred maintenance on the rental property

I also look critically at the property for signs of deferred maintenance. If the rental property is not being kept up lack of money is often the root cause.

As a Realtor, one of the first things I check is the tax record of the property. I want to make sure the owner of the property in the tax records is really the person claiming to be the owner.

Landlord Hank: How do i check on the owner of a rental property?

Check tax records on the property. Photo credit PRimage factory via istockphoto.com

You can see when property was bought by this owner. So, I often interject that into the conversation with the question, “How long have you owned the property?” Of course I already know the answer.

Not sure why you are asking but I hope this helps.


Hank Rossi

About the author Landlord Hank:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.

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