Landlords: Are Tenants Calling Your Bluff?

by Chris on April 23, 2018

It seems every time you read a newspaper there’s another story about a tenant who trashed a rental property. And it seems that behind every landlord nightmare story, there’s a manipulative tenant — someone who pretended to be qualified, then stopped paying rent and destroyed the rental home.

Suffice it to say that manipulative tenants have a personal agenda. They don’t care who gets hurt so long as they get what they want. Charm, flattery, talking too much, playing the victim — these all are effective scams employed to rip off a landlord.

How do you tell the difference between friendly and charming? Between someone who’s hit a rough patch and a professional victim? It’s tough to see the signs. Some scammers are so polished, you would need a psychology degree to see through the act.

Fortunately, you don’t need one. There’s a simpler strategy that can stave off this income loss: don’t back down.

One of the best things a landlord can do to manage any tenant is to set boundaries and stick to those limits. You’ve taken the time to learn how to screen tenants and develop an ironclad tenancy agreement. Now, all you need to do is stick to the plan.

Manipulators will try to find a chink in the armour. This will begin with the very first conversation. Your confidence and resolve are being tested. Don’t let anyone call your bluff.

When an applicant calls and asks if you’ll waive the security deposit, say no.

When an applicant asks if you will lower the rent, say no.

When an applicant asks if they can pay in installments, say no.

The same resolve must hold during the property tour. If the applicant demands to see the unit right away, don’t allow it — not until the person has been prequalified. After that, insist on meeting off-site and ask to see a photo ID.

When a tenant says they need to move in immediately — a red flag that the tenant is being evicted — say no. First, the applicant must complete a rental application and undergo a tenant background check. No one gets a free pass.

If a tenant offers to pay cash or higher rent for a quicker turnaround — and avoid tenant screening — say no.

Everyone responds well to limits, from the best tenants to the worst. By sticking to tried-and-true property management strategies, you can speed up your learning curve without having to pay the price of bad experiences. Manipulative tenants can find easier prey.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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Landlord Calls for Emergency Eviction Law

by Chris on April 23, 2018

A New Brunswick landlord  finds himself advocating for a change in rental laws after tenants wrecked his property in under two months.

According to a news report, the tenants told the sympathetic landlord that they were struggling financially and couldn’t afford to pay a damage deposit. They paid one month’s rent, and then defaulted. After receiving complaints from neighbours, the landlord attempted to contact his tenants, but they avoided the calls. Apparently, they packed up some belongings and headed to Alberta.

Unable to enter the property without proper notice, the landlord was forced to call police to confirm that the home had been abandoned. The property was left unlocked. Food, cigarette butts, and dog waste covered the floors, and the walls and doors were scratched.

Under current tenancy laws, the landlord then was forced to serve notice and provide the tenants the opportunity to clean up the mess and repair the damage before seeking an eviction order to recover the property.

After three weeks of administrative delays, the landlord now faces the daunting task of restoring the property. Still, he’s required to collect and store the tenants’ personal belongings.

The frustration has led this landlord to call for a policy change: the right to immediately evict tenants who are trashing a property. As this landlord points out, it’s highly unlikely tenants who remain three more weeks will fix the damage they’ve already caused, rather than compound it.

Unfortunately, many landlords believe that the eviction process ultimately will save them from bad tenants. But eviction is a remedy of last resort, is difficult to win even in egregious cases, and seldom ends with the landlord being compensated for losses.

According to the report, this landlord learned a lesson: rent with your head, not your heart. That’s good advice.

What can landlords do to avoid this income loss? The answer is to place more focus on tenant screening, and on holding tenants accountable:

Watch for red flags. Tenants like this typically use a sad story to lower the rent or avoid paying deposits. Maybe the stories are false, or maybe these tenants honestly believe that the world owes them a place to live despite a bad rental history. Either way, it’s seldom a risk worth taking.

Tenant screening can be more complicated when a problem tenant moves across country. It’s easier to conceal a prior tenancy gone bad. That’s one of many reasons for running a tenant credit check on an applicant who otherwise appears to be a good prospect. Credit information cannot be manipulated, and eventually the credit report will flag a tenant who does not demonstrate financial responsibility. Both components of tenant screening — credit-worthiness and rental history — are indicators of potential income loss.

A solid tenancy agreement provides authority for the landlord to manage the property. Failure to pay rent is a common reason for eviction, but not the only reason. A landlord may be able to boot a bad tenant for damage to the property, violating pet provisions, disturbances, committing crimes, or for breaking health and safety codes.

Another excellent strategy for holding tenants accountable is to sign up to Report Rent Payments through TVS. Tenants who don’t make regular payments go into a searchable database for other landlords. Also, the information is reported to a credit bureau and included in the tenant’s consumer credit report. Those steps serve as incentive for tenants to pay rent or risk being rejected the next time they apply for rental housing — regardless of where they end up.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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