Informal Tenancy Becomes Landlord’s Nightmare

by Chris on October 13, 2014

A landlord recently shared a story, explaining that after inheriting a home, the family allowed friends to move into the property. There was no written lease agreement. There was no rent paid.

Now, the family is in court trying to boot the “tenants” after discovering extensive damage — every window is broken, doors are kicked in, and some possessions left at the property are missing.

tenant screeningAs it turns out, these tenants have a long history of evictions that spans decades.

So how did this go so wrong?

Trust has it’s place, but not when in comes to screening tenants. Professional tenants — habitual liars who live free while scamming the landlord — know how to play the system. If landlords want to win the fraud game, they have to be savvy to the rules:

Part of the tenant screening process is simply asking for identification. It’s imperative to confirm the person’s identity so that bad tenants can be investigated and weeded out.

The next critical step is demanding a completed rental application. Applicants should be aware that they will be asked to sign a declaration at the end verifying the information under penalty of perjury or subsequent eviction. That alone can scare away some bad prospects.

An incomplete rental application can flag a tenant who has something to hide.

For some professional tenants, the declaration in the rental application is not enough. A completed application may look legitimate, but it may contain information that cannot be verified. Passing the burden onto the tenant to explain these gaps can expose a scam artist.

Running tenant screening reports, including a credit report, is the best way to expose professional tenants. Their words and their actions may conflict — that’s how you will know they are not telling the whole truth.

Before renting, always follow up with the previous landlord. In this case, there are now around 30 landlords who would talk you out of renting to this applicant!

Don’t underestimate the importance of a written lease agreement. Going to court on verbal agreements can have devastating consequences.

The more informal your property management process, the more likely a tenant will try to take advantage of the situation. Creating structure ensures that the tenant understands the rules that are required. The best way to avoid professional bad tenants is professional property management.

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 in 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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