The two goals of tenant screening are straightforward. You want someone who will pay on time and treat your space with respect. But conducting your screening can be confusing. How do you determine who is a good tenant? How can you tell if they are being honest in their responses?
It is well worth the effort to spend the time identifying warning signs of a troublesome renter. Bad tenants are more than a nuisance. They waste your time, cost you money, and leave you with a mess to clean up.
Avoid these problems by keeping a lookout for these 7 red flags.
1. Does a Credit Check Make Them Nervous?
By law, you can’t run a credit check without the permission of your prospective tenant. But, what if they won’t give their consent? Savvy landlords know this often means they have something to hide, from a bad credit history, to an eviction or a bankruptcy.
Let the person know that you won’t rent to them unless you first do a credit check.
2. Is Their Credit Score Low? Does It Show Bankruptcy?
When you do run the credit check, you might find a low credit score or a bankruptcy on their record. If the person has made poor financial decisions in the past, it is a good predictor of how he is still handling his bills.
Take it as a sign that he will be late paying his rent and find another renter.
3. Have They Been Evicted?
Any eviction is a major red flag. The main reason people are evicted is because they don’t pay their rent. It is probable that they had the chance to move out before getting evicted. Instead, they chose to stay until they were forced out with a formal eviction.
To avoid the drama and paperwork, move on to another applicant.
4. Have They Moved Yearly?
Though your tenants won’t stay in your building forever, it is easier on you as the landlord to rent to people who will stay at least two or three years.
It makes sense to contact previous landlords to find out how long the prospective tenant lived at their former addresses. If they move every year, you might want to pass them by.
5. What About the Criminal Background Check?
In some states you can turn down a prospective tenant if they have gone to jail. But in others, like California, you cannot discriminate against those who were convicted of specific nonviolent crimes.
Learn the rules in your area so you don’t violate the law yourself. Wherever you live, if the person was convicted of a sex crime or drug dealing, you are in a very strong position for turning down their application.
6. Are There Lies on the Application?
A smart landlord checks the information that the tenant supplies on his application. That means calling former landlords, checking employment, and verifying addresses and income.
You simply can’t rely on your tenant to tell the complete truth. If you encounter any lie, but especially ones about income, employment, and previous rent experiences, it is wise to reconsider renting to them.
7. Do They Seem Desperate? Evasive?
When you talk to the renter, does she seem desperate or evasive? This can mean a problem you don’t want to get involved in.
Trying to get away from an abusive situation can make anyone desperate. By renting to someone in this situation, you are helping her out of a difficult situation. In the process, you can end up with a loyal and stable tenant.
But, if you sense evasion and that something is just not quite right, trust your gut. Move on to the next application.
If you’re looking for help in managing your rental property, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Zenith Properties NW today if you have any questions about rental property, investing, rental management, or any of our services that we offer. Call 360-696-3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.