Bad Tenant Seeks Good Home: Will It Be Yours?

by Chris on October 28, 2013

Talk about the tenant from hell.

A landlord just got her rental property back after a two-year fight.

The tenant, who has been associated with the Freeman-on-the-Land movement, had claimed the property as his sovereign embassy.

tenant screeningThe landlord told one news agency that the tenant changed the locks, ordered renovations that she had to pay for, and placed a lien on the property.

One of the most troubling aspects of the story is that the tenant allegedly assaulted a previous landlord.

Fortunately, cases this bizarre are not the norm — that’s why they make news. But a surprising number of landlords face similar results. It does not matter how dramatic the facts are. Problem tenants always lead to the same outcome — income loss.

There is another common thread: Problem tenants eventually have to find another place to call home.  Will it be yours?

As sad as it is for one landlord to get ripped off by a bad tenant, it’s even worse to see a series of landlord victims, one after the other — landlords who didn’t realize they were renting to a risky applicant until it was too late.

Time and again landlords discover that it can take months — or in this case years — to resolve a problem tenancy. Relying on the eviction process to get the property back is costly and disappointing. The best practice is prevention.  Carefully screening tenants is one way that landlords can maintain control.

Speaking with previous landlords before renting a property is an essential step in screening tenants. If landlords stick together and help one another out, eventually the problem tenant will be boxed out of rental housing, and forced to deal with the consequences of their bad behavior.

Another essential step is running tenant screening reports like a tenant credit check, criminal history and eviction report.  These reports can catch rental applicants in a lie, or at least trigger some suspicion that the applicant is a risk.

Tenant screening is never an exact science. It’s impossible to predict every scam an applicant may try to pull, and landlords must be willing to perform due diligence, being watchful of those things that just don’t add up.  But by using common experiences as a guide, and using the best available tenant screening tools, landlords can avoid the vast majority of these problem tenants.

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.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Feldman October 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

When a risky tenant screens “clean” what options are there? I thought it was illegal for any landlord to say to another potential landlord any comment except that such and such a person had been a tenant. Absolutely nothing in real reality about a poor quality tenant may be divulged or you can be sued for libel? I live in California.

Tanya Lazar October 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm

What info can a landlord legally divulge about tenants re: payment history, property damage, noise, criminal activity, excessive visitors, any other sort of undesirable behavior? I thought same as Feldman, that a landlord can only give tenancy dates in response to inquiries.

anne November 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm

i rented out my house to one who came recommended through the housing authority. falmouth housing paid 90% of the rent, so she got to live in my brand new 3 bedroom home for 5 years while paying only $200/month.
i gave her 3 months to move when i decided i needed to move back to my house.
she not only 3 huge dump trucks of stuff in the house that i had to paid for – but robbed me of ALL my belongings. yes, i know, i shouldn’t have left everything here, but i was too trusting and couldn’t afford storage. i lost everything. the house is still not back to how it was and i don’t think it ever will be. she took everything! every dish, pots & pans, a bed, lawn mower, tools – and destroyed the new furniture that was left. i wish i could somehow publish her name and list my items, in case anyone can find them. what i don’t understand is how she came highly recommended to me!

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