A landlord who struggled for months to evict a professional tenant says he has learned a lesson: it’s easy for scammers to take advantage of the law.
After investigation, a news report details this tenant’s history with at least three landlords where he failed to pay rent and launched appeals to stave off an eviction. At one point, the police helped the tenant move his possessions back into the rental property even though the tenant had not paid rent for months.
The most recent landlord thought he had found the ideal tenant — someone who flaunted wealth, offered a copy of his credit report with a high score, and supplied good references. But then the rent cheque bounced because the account was closed.
These are hard lessons to learn, and others can avoid a similar nightmare by taking three important precautions:
1. Learn to spot red flags
A rental applicant who appears overqualified — drives a luxury car, has “overseas” income, is happy to pay in cash — may be putting on an act. A credit report supplied by the tenant directly is dubious because there is no independent corroboration of the tenant’s identity or the accuracy of the report. Doctoring supplemental documentation is a common form of tenant fraud, so that information must come from independent third parties such as credit bureaus or employers.
2. Don’t act on first impression
Professional tenants are counting on the landlord forming an impression and acting on that “gut” feeling rather than verifying the story. So, even if a landlord doesn’t catch the red flags, by verifying the applicant’s identity, demanding a rental application, verifying that information independently, and running a tenant credit check, the landlord still can flag a potential scam and avoid income loss.
3. Hold tenants to account
Professional tenants not only know how to game the legal system with frivolous appeals, they know how to play victim. These actors will exploit the narrative that landlords are bent on ripping off tenants, not the other way around. Some also will threaten and intimidate to avoid consequences for their actions. And it works. Many landlords are afraid of reprisals and will not report these bad tenants.
One way around that dilemma is to hold all tenants accountable — from the beginning of each tenancy. When landlords Report Rent Payments, that payment information is reported monthly to a credit bureau and entered into the LandlordCreditBureau.ca database. Soon, a professional tenant’s credit and rental history will betray them and make renting virtually impossible.
Reporting rent payments also allows landlords to create a record of payment and flag a problem early on, which minimizes income loss. Good tenants benefit from the process because they will enjoy better credit scores and rental history.
After finally succeeding in evicting his non-paying tenant, this landlord says that it’s important to tell these stories so other landlords are aware of the risks. “We can look out for each other,” he says.
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.