We’ve all heard the horror stories of tenants destroying property or failing to pay rent. No one wants to be these tenant’s next victim, but if you don’t know what to look for, it can be daunting trying to spot these “trouble tenants.” Luckily, all it takes is an eye for detail, a little intuition, and a solid screening process to reveal which applicants are high risk. Here are a few things to look for.
Failure to Complete Application Form
If there are holes in their application, this usually means they’re trying to hide something. They know that providing you with this information will result in them not being able to live at your property. If anything is missing on their application, the best thing to do is throw it away.
Can’t Provide Necessary Documentation
Providing evidence of the information they claim in their application is crucial in determining whether or not they’re being honest. Watch for inconsistent information, inability to provide documents, or self-employed with no documentation substantiating a legitimate business. Any one of these factors is an automatic red flag.
They Seem Nervous About a Credit Check
A tenant who seems hesitant about agreeing to a credit check could be hiding something. They might be afraid you’ll find something negative in their reports such as a poor credit score, large amounts of debt, a prior bankruptcy, or a history of evictions. Legally, you can’t run a credit check without written consent from the applicant, so it’s a good idea to be clear that if they don’t allow you to run a credit check, their application won’t be considered.
In a Rush to Move-In
Usually, an applicant will only be overly eager to move in if they’re being kicked out somewhere else. Watch for suspicious behavior such as acting nervous or being overly friendly. There could be other reasons for this, of course, but it’s best to be on the safe side and find out a little more information before you accept their application.
Only Wanting to List One-Name With Multiple Adults
Most rental agreements require every adult living at the property to sign the lease. If multiple adults are going to be living in a unit but only one is willing to sign the lease, this should set off some serious alarms. The applicant doing all of the talking (and signing) could have excellent credit and rental histories while the others could be living nightmares.
Giving You False Information
This is where a good tenant screening process comes into play. You should always double-check all the information given to you on their application and make sure it’s legitimate. If they give you fake references, false rental information, or any other false information, their application should be immediately denied.