As a landlord, you’re hoping for a tenant who pays rent on time, takes care of the property, follows the rules, and then renews their lease. Unfortunately, that’s not always who you’ll get.
But you can stack the odds in your favor! A good quality tenant isn’t hard to find when you know how to choose the right tenants, and the best advice for choosing a good renter is to avoid the bad ones. So, if you meet one of these five problem tenants during your search for the right occupant, keep looking.
1. The Late Payer
Don’t choose a tenant with a history of paying their rent late. Not only does it raise doubts about if they’ll pay, but it messes up your cash flow. Typically, you receive rent before your mortgage is due. If they don’t pay, you cover the mortgage — either out of your personal funds, emergency fund, or repair reserve.
Also, if they aren’t being responsible with their housing payment, what else are they neglecting at your house? A history of late payments is always a red flag.
So, talk to their current and previous landlords to see how they’ve paid in the past. Then, check their credit report for any late payments. If they have a pattern of lateness, move on to the next applicant.
2. The Unpredictably Employed
A person without steady employment raises a lot of questions for landlords. If they’re moving from job to job or have unstable income, you’ll likely see late payments or an early termination of the lease.
To do your homework, look at their pay stubs for the year-to-date. Also, call and confirm employment with their listed employers. If they don’t have steady income, you can’t depend on them to pay their rent.
3. The Entitled Complainer
This person drains you from the beginning. You’ve met them: they make a million demands, but resist complying with your procedures. They don’t want to provide all the requested application documents. They ask for exceptions, make excuses, and use drama to avoid giving the facts.
If they’re difficult as an applicant, they’ll be hard to work with as a tenant. Save yourself the trouble and move on.
4. The Liar
Everything seems too good to be true during the application process… because it is. At first, these applicants seem better than great which should prompt you to do a little digging.
You’ll need a good tenant screening process, otherwise you won’t catch them. Contact previous landlords (they’ll often give fake contact information) and check to see if their credit report matches the application.
Sometimes, these people ask to move in immediately or threaten to walk away. Let them walk. If they don’t give you enough time to do a full screening, it’s not worth the risk.
5. The 4-Bedroom Loner
A single person applying for a 3-5 bedroom house is an invitation for unauthorized tenants. Maybe they claim to have family that comes from overseas. But something doesn’t add up.
Within a few months, you’ll probably get calls from neighbors or the city about extra cars regularly at the property. Most likely, people are living in the house who haven’t been screened. And if they weren’t screened, there’s usually something in their background they didn’t want on the application.
Even if they’re paying on time, you don’t know what’s happening to your property.
So, if you meet one of these five types of people as you’re sifting through the applicant pool, keep searching. Good tenants are out there — and a good screening process will help you find them.