Can Landlords Use Private Investigators?

In short, yes. A landlord can use a private investigator if they have good reason to do so. A private investigator might well ask a landlord a few questions when an inquiry is made so as to determine whether or not a private investigation is the way to resolve an issue. So why would a landlord need to have a private investigation carried out, how can they benefit from one and what can they do with any information that’s found out?

Why would a landlord need to have a private investigation conducted?

Private investigators offer a very bespoke, valuable service that can be used by almost anyone, including landlords. However, there has to be a valid reason (known as legitimate interest) for having one carried out, so under what circumstances would a landlord benefit from a private investigation?

Ensuring the right tenants are occupying the rental property

This would come under, roughly, the same category as a background check. It might also be possible to run credit checks on potential tenants as well, giving you peace of mind that rent will be paid on time and that your property will be left in good condition.

A background check or credit report might well uncover previous issues with a prospective tenant, including being in rent arrears or leaving previous properties in an unfit or damaged state. With this information, a landlord could refuse a tenants’ application on that basis, thus protecting their financial situation and their property.

Here at Delta 74 Private Investigations, our highly-skilled, fully-trained agents will be able to carry out in-depth, meticulous background checks on your behalf. You’ll then be provided with a full, detailed report of our findings, so you can rest assured that you’re choosing the right tenant for your property.

Needing to recover any rent owed to a landlord

Once a tenant moves out of your property, it can be difficult to track them down or get in touch with them regarding any outstanding rent. Depending on the amount owed, this could be taken out of their deposit, but sometimes, the amount can be rather considerable and so the tenant in question will need to be contacted regarding rent arrears.

If a landlord is finding this somewhat impossible or if the previous tenant has provided false forwarding information, then a private investigator, such as the professionals here at Delta 74 Private Investigations, will be able to help a landlord recover any rent owed through our dedicated people tracing services.

How can a landlord benefit from private investigations?

When you own a rental property, it’s important that you do everything in your power to protect your asset and that can often include having a private investigation carried out. Finding the right tenant, recovering rent owed, ensuring the property isn’t illegally sublet and checking that criminal activity isn’t occurring at the address are all reasons why a landlord might wish to get in touch with a PI firm, such as Delta 74 Private Investigations. So how can a landlord benefit from a private investigation?

Background checks can be conducted

As previously mentioned, background checks can be carried out on prospective tenants. This will provide landlords with all of the relevant information they need to make an informed decision about who resides at their property. A committed private investigator, such as those who work with Delta 74 Private Investigations, will be able to gather information regarding:

  • Credit history
  • Past bankruptcies
  • Criminal records

Detailed investigations, such as a background check, will help to uncover any red flags regarding a prospective tenant so you can avoid any issues that might arise further down the line.

Detailed searches can be performed

Where a background check will help to disclose basic information about a potential tenant or tenants, an experienced PI, such as those at Delta 74 Private Investigations, will be able to conduct wider searches on an individual or persons. In turn, this will help to acquire further information, including whether a prospective tenant has or has previously had:

  • Any known aliases
  • Been on the sex offenders register
  • Any medical issues
  • Any eviction judgements
  • Previous issues or disputes with other landlords or letting agencies

These detailed searches will be able to protect a landlord from fraud or any other legal issues that might arise.

It will help to determine whether or not your property is being illegally sublet

According to iNTUS Lettings, illegally subletting properties is fast becoming an increasingly common occurrence in the UK – a rather concerning problem for landlords across the country. But when a landlord doesn’t live near or onsite, it can be hard to work out whether or not their property is being sublet illegitimately.

If a landlord expresses these concerns to a private investigator, then it’s likely that private surveillance services will be recommended in order to confirm or deny that their property is being illegally sublet. This is a highly-convenient service for landlords as many won’t have the time to go and investigate the matter personally.

This type of investigation will be carried out by a qualified professional, so a landlord will have absolute peace of mind that this particular service will be conducted with the utmost discretion and sensitivity. It will also save the landlord time, allowing them to focus on other things whilst having the confidence that a sophisticated surveillance operation is being carried out on their rental property.

Criminal activity can be identified

It’s a landlord’s worst nightmare to find out that criminal activity is occurring in their property. But when such a thing is suspected, it’s important that the landlord has this investigated. It might be that they’d had a tip-off from a neighbour and they want to confirm any suspicions before getting the police involved – that’s where Delta 74 Private Investigations come in. We’ll be able to monitor your rental property, looking closely at the occupant(s)’ movements and meticulously investigating the issue until a solid conclusion is found.

What can a landlord do under the Data Protection Act?

Once your private investigator has provided you with the information you need, there are clear GDPR guidelines regarding the information that you can release to another party. With this in mind, a landlord can do the following with any information they’ve acquired:

  • Provide utility companies with the names of new tenants
  • Give forwarding addresses of former tenants to utility companies but only if their accounts are in credit or if bills are unpaid
  • Disclose personal information about former or current tenants only if there’s a legal duty or obligation to do so
  • Provide information to legitimate debt collecting companies or tracing agents, such as to recover unpaid rent, for example
  • Inform any tenants that another tenant has gone into rent arrears but only if that non-payment directly affects the tenants being informed
  • Give personal information out in the case of an emergency, such as contact details

It’s important to note that a landlord cannot disclose any information about former or current tenants on a general basis. For example, it should not be discussed casually with anyone who isn’t or doesn’t need to be involved with your rental property or rental contracts.

If you’re renting your property through a letting agency, then be sure to read the contract you have signed with them and their policy regarding GDPR for more information. If you’re still unsure, ask them about their terms and conditions surrounding GDPR and data protection.

For further advice regarding GDPR rules and regulations in the United Kingdom, or to learn more about the Data Protection Act 2018, visit the government website.

Delta 74 Private Investigations are proud to provide discrete, professional and covert services throughout Derby and the surrounding areas. As well as being able to conduct background checks, people tracing services and private surveillance, we’re also able to carry out cheating partner investigations, launch counter surveillance services and even conduct lie detector tests for those who need it. For further information about the services our skilled, experienced team will be able to carry out, get in touch with us at a time to suit you – we’re always pleased to help.

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