How to Lease to International Renters

leasing to international renters

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Miami is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, and with this diversity means you’ll also come across foreign renters. South Americans and Europeans buyers are scooping up condos in the Miami area, but foreign renters are also plentiful. International tenants are a great opportunity for business, but know what to look for and how to lease to foreign nationals so you can be safe.

It’s important to screen all your tenants in the application process to protect yourself and your business. International tenants don’t have the usual social security numbers or proof of a good credit background in America – so how do you complete a thorough background check and get the information you need?

You don’t have to rent to them.

If a tenant doesn’t have a social security card or can’t provide proof of their immigration status, you aren’t violating fair housing laws by turning them away. However, this doesn’t mean foreign applicants can’t be good tenants.

Ask for their passport or naturalization papers.

Check for proof of the renter’s identity and confirm if they’re eligible to work in the U.S. under federal immigration laws.

Contact their employer and co-sign.

See if you can sign the lease through the employer or use them as a co-signer for the tenant. This will put someone responsible the renter returns to their country and you lose contact.

Check for a criminal background.

Take down their complete name, birthdate, address, passport, country of citizenship, drivers license, telephone, and visa number. Use this information to do some researching of your own on the web or to verify their immigrant status.

Complete international credit verifications and background checks.

There are many resident screening services that have the capability to process foreign applicants. If you come across foreign applicants often and seriously consider them for your units, the peace of mind is worth the investment. Call your service, or look into one, that completes background checks and ask if and how they process foreigners.

Watch out for signs of a scam.

If the tenant asks to wire money, offers to pay a large sum of rent in advance, or asks you to send money back to them, these are instant red flags.