Chances are that you’ve applied for a job at some point in your life, so you’ve likely heard the common notion that you should keep your Facebook page squeaky clean – potential employers might look at your social media pages, and if they see something there they don’t like, they can easily disqualify you and move on to another candidate. It’s thus not unreasonable to worry that, when you’re applying for a new apartment, your potential landlord might look at your Facebook page too. Read on to find out whether landlords look at your Facebook page and what you can do to prevent your social media presence from affecting your apartment application.
Do landlords look at your Facebook page?
According to a 2018 survey, the answer to the big question is yes – landlords do look at your Facebook page. The good news is that this practice isn’t nearly as pervasive as you might think.
The survey found that 11 percent of landlords look at prospective tenants’ social media pages during the application process. This percentage translates to roughly one in every ten landlords, so if you apply to ten apartments, then statistically, only one of the landlords will look at your Facebook page. Nevertheless, there are legal limits as to how a landlord who looks at your Facebook page can use the information found there.
How can landlords use the information on your Facebook page?
Landlords can use the information on your Facebook page to verify the information that you provide in your application. A landlord who sees a different job listed on your Facebook page than the one you gave in your application can use this discrepancy to deny your application, and they can do the same if they see pets in your photos despite your application claiming none. Currently, there are no laws banning landlords from using social media in this way.
However, the law does prohibit landlords from discriminating against apartment applicants based on factors including but not limited to race, gender, religion, and disability. Thus, a landlord who looks at your Facebook page cannot use any information you provide there about these factors to influence your application. In general, experts on landlord-tenant issues discourage landlords from using social media in any way other than to verify the information you provide in your application, as taking information from your Facebook page for other purposes can pose significant liabilities for the landlord.
How can you make your Facebook page more appealing to landlords?
Despite the general notion that landlords should use social media for verification rather than information, landlords may well still peruse your social media during the application process. Consider what a landlord likely wants in an ideal tenant: Someone who respects the property and neighbors in terms of volume level, cleanliness, general interactions, and other basic everyday skills. Thus, if you’re worried about what your potential landlord might see on your Facebook page, consider deleting any content that portrays you as someone who parties a lot, comes off rude and combative to other people, takes political stances that many people find disagreeable, or drinks and uses drugs heavily. As long as your social media reflects the caring, agreeable person and tenant whom you almost certainly are, then you should have nothing to worry about.
Has a landlord ever looked at your Facebook page? Share your experiences in the comments!