Every landlord wants to avoid the nightmare of a bad tenant. Renting to the wrong person is much worse than having your property stand empty for an extra month while you find the right one. A bad tenant can cost you money, ruin your reputation with the neighbors, and even get you into legal trouble.
If your potential tenant is unemployed, they may struggle to pay rent. Even if they’ve saved up, you never know how long their unemployment stint is going to run. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you should require potential tenants to verify that they have a stable income.
If prospective tenants are already complaining about neighborhood children playing outside or they’re getting tense about your other tenants’ pets before they’ve even signed a lease, they might not be the tenant for you. The last thing you need is a troubling tenant whose only goal is to make everyone miserable.
If you’ve yet to experience a tenant illegally growing marijuana in their apartment, you can count yourself lucky. Tenants who are willing to break the law are definitely more likely than others to cause problems. That’s why it’s so important to require a tenant screening and background check. You know how the saying goes, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
One issue most landlords face is a tenant who submits late or partial rent payments. To avoid this situation, you should make it crystal clear in the written lease agreement (in a friendly way, or course) that your property management system is strict and there’s no leeway about late payment penalties. Some landlords even tell their potential tenants that the penalty is “built into the accounting system.”
If an applicant decides to fill out certain parts of the rental application and not others, you should ask a few follow-up questions. In addition, any landlord should think twice before renting to an applicant who gives different information from what you find on their screening report. If a tenant claims he or she doesn’t have any prior eviction, but you found an eviction on their report, you may want to consider that before making your decision.
Someone who moves around a lot or changes jobs frequently is a red flag. Not only because they’re more likely to break their lease, but because they may be unreliable or have an unstable income, which could result in late payments or non-payment.
Sure, there are bad landlords just as there are poorly behaved tenants. But a potential tenant who badmouths their previous landlord is a definite red flag. Just imagine what they could say about you once their lease is up!
Whenever someone answers a “yes” or “no” question with a long, drawn out story, you should head the other way. Explanations are fine, but straightforward answers should always come first, especially when it comes to business.
Some people are bullies – plain and simple. But this isn’t the playground. Don’t tolerate intimidating behavior from a potential tenant. Not only will they disrupt your life, but your other tenants’ lives, too!
The decision is ultimately yours, but snagging responsible tenants in your rental properties is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success as a landlord. So don’t cut corners and pay attention to the warning signs.