Every landlord hopes for tenants that pay their rent on time and look after their investment property. However, not every landlord is willing to put in the time it could take to find these golden tenants. A screening process is helpful, but it’s also important to be aware of any red flags that could lead to potential problem tenants. Here are a few things to look for.
Failure to Complete Application
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, the best thing to do is throw the application 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.
Glowing Landlord References
A tenant who has had a bad experience with a prior landlord isn’t going to put them down as a reference. Instead, they’ll ask a friend or relative to pretend to be one. References that seem too good to be true are a big red flag. To avoid this, ask questions whose answers can be proven through their background checks such as: Was the rent always paid on time? Did they receive their whole deposit back? Did they terminate their lease early? Never be afraid to dig a little deeper and verify information.
Giving You False Information
This is where a good tenant screening process comes into play. You should always double-check all of 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 immediately be denied.