How to Stop Tenants From Living Rent-Free

by Chris on June 20, 2016

It’s just the way the law works. That’s the rationalization a tenant offers for scamming three landlords over the course of eight months.

According to a news report, the Regina tenant admits that he has the money to pay rent, but he says his landlord didn’t treat him well, so now he’s going to make the landlord work for it. By that, the tenant means that the landlord will have to file for dispute resolution if he wants to see his rent.

 tenant screeningReporters discovered that’s what happened during the last tenancy. And the one before that. This tenant is no stranger to the dispute resolution system.

It’s a classic scam played again and again across the country. Tenants move in and then begin to complain about the condition of the property, or as in this case, the terms of the lease agreement, and then stop paying rent. They play victim in an attempt to justify their actions. Once a dispute resolution decision comes down in support of the landlord, the tenant appeals. If necessary, the tenant appeals again. Meanwhile, the tenant gains access to the rental for free — a powerful incentive to do it again.

Fortunately, it is possible to stop this scam.

One way is to do what these ambitious reporters have done, and sift through appeals court dockets to find the tenant’s history. Needless to say, that’s time-consuming.

A more efficient strategy is to anticipate this sort of applicant in your tenant screening policy:

1. Verify identity with a photo ID.
2. Demand a completed rental application and verify that information.
3. Run a credit check with TVS and search the Landlord Credit Bureau tenant database.
4. Speak with the current and former landlords before agreeing to occupancy.

By comparing information provided by the applicant at various stages of the leasing process, such as notes from the initial phone conversation, photo ID, and the rental application, as well as the rental application and the credit report, it is easier to catch a dishonest tenant in a scam.

LANDLORD TIP: While the majority of rental applicants are not scammers, small or informal rental businesses are the most vulnerable, and are likely to encounter more than their fair share of these professional tenants. That’s because these seasoned applicants know how to talk a landlord out of running a tenant background check. Don’t let one of these tenants take advantage of you. Create a professional image in your rental ads, and warn applicants ahead of time that you screen 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 }

Ferdi June 21, 2016 at 5:33 am

I think this information is not what the title means.
I thought i will find some tips how to avoid tenant to not paying rent.

The content is about preventive to have a bad tenant instead

False information ..
Thanks

Chris June 21, 2016 at 8:17 am

Hi Ferdi,
Sorry you’re not happy with the article. Unfortunately, tenants like this target landlords with the INTENT to not pay rent, so it’s really difficult to do anything about it once they’ve moved in. Flagging the pattern before the tenant moves in may be the only viable solution. Thanks for reading.

Rich January 7, 2019 at 8:03 am

I agree with ferdi. This article title should say “how to prevent a tenant from living rent free.” Or “common sense tip to prevent scammers.” The title is misleading because it does not offer any further information than that. It purports to give information about stopping some thing which implies that it is already occuring. Thanks.

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