Landlords: 3 Things Tenants Do When You’re Not Watching

by Chris on February 12, 2018

Even with carefully-screened tenants, landlords can suffer if they are not watching over the property. Few landlords enjoy property inspections. But failure to adequately supervise tenants can lead to income loss. Receiving a rent check each month is not the measure of a successful tenancy. Tenants also must abide by other terms of the lease agreement.

Haven’t been to the property in a while? Here’s what your tenants are doing when you’re not around:

More Occupants Than You Bargained For

One of the most common lease violations by unsupervised tenants is taking in roommates. You went to a lot of trouble to choose a tenant with decent credit and a good rental history. Allowing that tenant to open the door to other residents increases landlord liability and potential income loss, especially if the new person can’t pass tenant screening.

New residents don’t know the rules and aren’t obligated under the lease. Imagine what would happen if that unknown occupant winds up being the only person at the property.

Each adult occupant should be on the lease agreement, and the lease should contain a guest policy that includes the right to ask for a tenant background check on new occupants. Don’t allow new residents to slip in under the radar.

Lease Violations Galore

Give an inch and some people take a mile.  Allow the tenant one dog, and before you know it there’s another — or three, and maybe a cat or two, and perhaps a hamster. Or a snake. Before allowing pets into a property, the animals must be screened to determine if they’re safe around others. But turn a blind eye, and tenants will feel emboldened to push the limits.

Lease violations tend to compound — once tenants see there’s no pushback, they’re likely to lose sight of the lease rules altogether. Parking violations, noise complaints — even criminal activities — are far more likely when tenants think they have free rein.

Ignoring Repairs

Nothing says “I don’t care” like ignoring the property for a year at a time. If you wait until the end of the lease to inspect, that water stain in the ceiling will have spread. The leak around the toilet will have destroyed the subfloor. And the mice in the crawlspace will have multiplied many times over.

Tenants who feel the landlord is apathetic have little incentive to report property damage, especially if the tenant contributed to it. Routine property inspections allow a landlord to prevent additional — and sometimes catastrophic  — damage to the property.

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).

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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.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Reis February 13, 2018 at 8:38 am

Yes, I can relate to this.
I have a tenant whose apartment had a loose shower plate. They could have told me or tightened themselves, but no. They told me when the shower handle broke and I had to hire a plumber to replace the shower mechanism for a cost of about $800.
I just learned that they or another tenant contacted the laundry service company and requested that they lower the cost of the laundry machines. Fortunately, the technician who showed up didn’t have the key and called me. I told him that I (the landlord) did not authorize the price change. I alerted the laundry service company.

Emma Innago February 19, 2018 at 11:43 pm

I find that credit score is a great indicator of how well a tenant will perform. Get a low scoring tenant, and be prepared for trouble. It is a great personal behavior indicator.

worldhealthchoice February 25, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Chris, thanks so much for the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

Akinwale February 26, 2018 at 11:27 pm

Thanks Chris. It’s always great to hear that folks find them worthwhile!

CraigDW July 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Sounds like a tenant I had. They had a leaky toilet supply hose in a downstairs bathroom. Instead of telling me about it, they decided to wrap it in a plastic bag and seal it with duct tape. I ended up replacing the laminate floor of the entire bathroom because the original pattern was no longer made.
This same tenant had a boyfriend who caused the police to bash down the door one night in some type of raid. Guess that’s one way of getting rid of unwanted “guests”.

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