Is It Permissible to Google Them/Check Them Out on Social Media?


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Checking potential lodgers on search  engines or social media is fine. Remember that a lodger, more often than not, is someone you do not know anything about up until the time of them coming to lodge with you. You know nothing about their background or character. This stranger is then coming to share your house with you, and probably with your family too – if you live with them. 

So,  essentially, it’s vital to find out more about this person. You should not be content with the fact that the potential lodger is at peace with the ‘right to rent law’. You have to to carry out a more extensive background search on the potential lodger. Find out about their security status, and whether they ar at any security risk. You have to find out something about their character, personality, temperament, career, and interests. These things, if gained access to, will help you to decide whether the prospective lodger is someone you want to share your house with.

Social media and search engines can be quite useful in digging up the desired extra information about a potential lodger. Through the person’s media presence, such as through their Facebook posts, tweets,  and the conversations generated by those, much about the person can be learnt.  Google searches on people can also expose a lot about them. Such searches can lead to what the individual has written, and what has been written about the individual, such as articles and blog posts. Also, whether the person has been involved in any crimes, scandals, and so on, are some of the things that a social media or Google search can reveal.

Through such disclosure, the landlord gets to know what they are up against. Popular search engines and social media platforms as Google, Bing, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, pipl search, and Graph Search can be utilised in achieving the desired result.

Landlords should, however, use discretion to know what to search for and what not to. Attempting to pry into a potential lodger’s protected files or personal conversations, like emails and chats is unacceptable. Morally, going to such an extent is wrong. Again, landlords do not have to take whatever they find on social media too far. There are people whose media presence may be altogether different from their real personality. So, make sure your search doesn’t mislead you.


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