Private Investigators for Landlords
Chances are you’ve had suspicions about at least one of your tenants. Perhaps it’s that they are profiting from a non-primary residence situation, an illegal sublet, or they are renting out their apartment on Airbnb. If you try to file a claim based on those suspicions, no matter how strong they may be, it is going to be your word against theirs. In instances such as these, you the landlord will always lose. Suspicion is not evidence, and indisputable evidence is ultimately what a landlord needs to win in court, get a surrender of a key, or get a lower buy out price.
Obtaining this kind of evidence is more difficult than you might think if you work on your own. For one, some of your evidence may not be as indisputable as you believe. Many tenants are well versed in the rules and do whatever they can to hide their non-primary or illegal sublets (so they profit by renting out the apartment at a higher price than the rent you the landlord is getting). Secondly, some of the evidence that you do obtain during an investigation may end up being inadmissible because it has not been properly authenticated.
Hiring a private investigator, however, eliminates all potential issues.
The legal expert for LandlordsNY, Michelle Maratto-Itkowitz @Itkowitz PLLC, agrees. Her ability to win the case for a landlord “is unnecessarily inhibited if we are prosecuting any of these types of cases without a licensed, experienced private investigator running a camera.” She also notes that you should let a professional install and maintain any monitoring equipment. “Landlord’s counsel needs to work closely with the surveillance camera technologists to streamline both the technical and legal process involved with utilizing cameras, or the evidence obtained from the cameras might not be admissible.”
The investigator can wear a body camera and capture evidence of illegal sublet through a pretext of a delivery. The investigators are trained to elicit admissions from targets.
For instances where a landlord wants to prove that the tenant is profiting from short-term leasing, another tactic is to have a private investigator book the apartment and create a detailed report documenting the experience.
According to Ms. Maratto-Itkowitz, she recently managed to get a rent controlled tenant to leave without a court case by utilizing these tactics. And there’s only one agency she’s ever used: Forensic Private Investigations. A full service licensed, bonded and insured investigation agency.
This is the only agency in 23 years I have found worth recommending,” she recently wrote.
1. Searches of Special Databases:
- Address Histories
- Places of Employment Searches
- DMV searches
- Searches by former Law Enforcement or Lawyers
- Bank Accounts Located
- Credit Headers (that do not violate FCRA)
- Locate and Verify Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth
- Voter registration records
- Phone Number ownership
- We will find name of illegal subtenant and the location of the tenant of record.
- Kilowatt search
- Gas utility searches
- Military searches
2. Field Work by trained licensed investigators
- Canvass Neighbors
- Pictures taken of alternative residences and vehicles
- Undercover investigators will get tenants to make recorded admissions against interest caught on body cameras
- Faux “flower delivery” or faux “delivery service”– clever rouses supported by websites and phone lines – that get tenants to make recorded audio and video admissions against interest
- Real time physical surveillance services
- Legally installed and monitored
- Chain of Custody properly preserved for court
- DATA SAVED RIGHT – NOT “WRITTEN OVER”
- Written reports summarizing video recorded
- Bank Accounts Located
- Security Services
Forensic Private Investigations, Inc.