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Property managers spy on tenants using sat imagery

Adelaide, Australia: Adelaide-based Steadfast Property Managers use NearMap satellite images to check the yard and surrounds of a prospective tenant’s current property or to monitor other rental properties outside of the quarterly physical inspections.

Adelaide’s Steadfast Property Managers principal Mark Leslie said, “Tenants can be observed over time to see how they really look after their yard. Technology has helped some property managers stay a little bit ahead of troubled tenants”.

Leslie’s property managers check Facebook for tenants with open profiles, or those who have mutual friends within the real estate industry. “It’s to see the types of photos and the functions they attend or the photos may have their house in them.”

Occasionally it takes a gut feeling and a bit of Google searching to learn a prospective tenant is not quite right, Leslie explained.

“Sometimes a prospective tenant can pass all database and phone checks, like one lady for an expensive property in Glenelg – she passed some checks, but there was something that didn’t feel quite right about her,” he said.

“After checking Google, we found a person of the same name and age had been convicted of Centrelink fraud, as reported in articles in The Advertiser.”

Checking the address and the ABN of the woman’s employer showed that neither existed, he added.

Extensive photographs at inspection time allow for easy comparison of a property’s condition and protect both the tenant and the landlord, Leslie noted.

Real Estate Institute of South Australia chief executive Greg Troughton said as long as property managers were using publicly accessible and legal information to monitor tenants it was something the association supported.

“When you are dealing with someone’s greatest asset, you’re acting on behalf of the landlord and you want to do the best job possible and make sure you get the best tenant,” Troughton said.

“I’m not the least bit surprised that people are already doing this and I would expect it to become the norm.”

Source: Herald Sun