It seems every time you read a newspaper there’s another story about a tenant who trashed a rental property. And it seems that behind every landlord nightmare story, there’s a manipulative tenant — someone who pretended to be qualified, then stopped paying rent and destroyed the rental home.
Suffice it to say that manipulative tenants have a personal agenda. They don’t care who gets hurt so long as they get what they want. Charm, flattery, talking too much, playing the victim — these all are effective scams employed to rip off a landlord.
How do you tell the difference between friendly and charming? Between someone who’s hit a rough patch and a professional victim? It’s tough to see the signs. Some scammers are so polished, you would need a psychology degree to see through the act.
Fortunately, you don’t need one. There’s a simpler strategy that can stave off this income loss: don’t back down.
One of the best things a landlord can do to manage any tenant is to set boundaries and stick to those limits. You’ve taken the time to learn how to screen tenants and develop an ironclad tenancy agreement. Now, all you need to do is stick to the plan.
Manipulators will try to find a chink in the armour. This will begin with the very first conversation. Your confidence and resolve are being tested. Don’t let anyone call your bluff.
When an applicant calls and asks if you’ll waive the security deposit, say no.
When an applicant asks if you will lower the rent, say no.
When an applicant asks if they can pay in installments, say no.
The same resolve must hold during the property tour. If the applicant demands to see the unit right away, don’t allow it — not until the person has been prequalified. After that, insist on meeting off-site and ask to see a photo ID.
When a tenant says they need to move in immediately — a red flag that the tenant is being evicted — say no. First, the applicant must complete a rental application and undergo a tenant background check. No one gets a free pass.
If a tenant offers to pay cash or higher rent for a quicker turnaround — and avoid tenant screening — say no.
Everyone responds well to limits, from the best tenants to the worst. By sticking to tried-and-true property management strategies, you can speed up your learning curve without having to pay the price of bad experiences. Manipulative tenants can find easier prey.
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.