If there is something that sitcoms such as Friends and HIMYM has taught us, it’s that having a roommate is the best way to form a lifelong friendship. They do more than just chip in with the rent, but also keep you company and provide assistance during an emergency. But in reality, it’s not a small risk to share a house or apartment with a stranger: they could be an unpredictable party animal whose lifestyle clashes with your own, a financially ruined chancer trying to freeload off you, or even a drug dealer in disguise.
Whether this is your first time searching for a roommate or you are a worrying parent of a fresh college student, it is better to learn the art of background checking just to stay on the safe side.
Peek Into Their Social Media
The most basic background information is available through free people search engines like PeekYou. It’ll round up public data like known aliases, location, current address and job, as well as looking up any social media account connected to the email address. Taking a glance at your future bunker buddy’s Facebook and Twitter messages is a highly worthwhile move because people – especially millennials – have a habit of oversharing.
Going through their media gallery will give you a clear idea what kind of people your roommate likes to hang out with, helping you to avoid sharing an apartment with a partyholic. Similarly, the way the person handles Twitter debates could indicate their overall temperament and willingness to settle things peacefully.
Avoid Roommates With a Shady Past
Of course, your roommate being a bit rowdy is the least of your concerns. Opening your door to complete strangers is a huge gamble as there’s every chance they could be a violent criminal, regular substance abuser, or sex offender. Luckily for you, no criminal act is hidden from the public eyes. Officials document every shady little misdemeanor committed by anyone, and these documents are openly available for everyone to view. In the past you had to drive to a government building just to access the files but now criminal records can be displayed on your computer or phone.
The results reveal details of if your associate is a convicted fraud, notorious cyber criminal, or known sex offender, just to name a few. Although there is a margin of error, the reports include birth records alongside the case details to make it easier to verify the information.
Figuring Out Their Financial Background
Digging up concrete evidence of someone’s financial credibility is a bit tricky since credit scores aren’t included in background checks. And even if they were, a good credit score would only mean that the person is paying their bills on time, and not necessarily that they are smart with money. Who knows, it could be that they are seeking a roommate to have someone to leach off in the first place. Landlords sometimes conduct their own screenings to judge a candidate’s financial eligibility, but you might still find yourself railroaded into paying your roommate’s part too because they were laid off from work.
Asking for a credit report is a fair solution to the problem, though most people feel awkward about handing out such sensitive information and your roommate might end up thinking that you are paranoid. Not to mention that banks only grant one free credit check and your potential roommate probably doesn’t want to waste it. As an alternative, consider asking for a recent pay stub since this can also highlight the financial stability of the employee.