Tenant Screening: 8 Ways to Flag Bad Tenants

by Chris on January 1, 2019

When qualifying rental applicants, it’s important to look for the warning signs of tenants who are not telling the truth about their qualifications. Here are some common red flags:

The applicant describes tragic circumstances, and then uses the sob story to ask for special treatment, like lower rent or paying in installments. The circumstances might be real, but it’s the expectation that the landlord will offer some financial compensation that is the problem.

The person wants or needs to move in immediately. The applicant describes dire circumstances or offers to pay in cash on the spot. The applicant is using desperation to create a sense of urgency – and avoid a tenant background check.

Applicants with bad rental history may try to move in with other people without signing the lease — or undergoing a background check. The danger is that the qualified applicant might disappear and leave a bad tenant behind. Watch for signs of this bait and switch, like refusing to identify intended roommates, bringing other people along for the property tour, or calling another decision-maker.

It is unusual for a person to be moving prior to the end of the current lease, or more frequently than once per year.

Failing to give notice to the previous landlord or asking that the landlord not be contacted is a sign of poor rental history.

Be wary of an applicant who lays blame on others for bad circumstances, especially the previous landlord.

Watch out for an applicant who displays signs of disrespect:
Shows up late;
Keeps interrupting;
Dominates the conversation;
Makes derogatory comments about others or about the property;
Calls or asks to visit the property at unreasonable hours; or
Is unresponsive when communicating — calls go to voicemail and are not promptly returned, won’t provide direct contact information.

Some individuals cannot control their body language. For instance, avoiding eye contact and covering the mouth are signs of deception. The person could be shy, or their body language is betraying their words. More due diligence may be in order.

Of course, the only way to know for certain that an applicant is qualified is to run a tenant background check that includes verifying the information on the rental application, speaking with references, and a tenant credit check.

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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Venkataraman January 2, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Above points very true. I myself experienced the pain after by passing some of the checks mentioned above. If we patiently execute all the above steps which I did subsequently through a realtor, I was able to get a good tenant and they are still living in our home

Thank you TVS for this article.

Venkat

Sean January 5, 2019 at 3:10 am

If the applicant who signed the lease leaves, and leaves behind the weary/poor Tennant who doesn’t pay, can I not evict the latter immediately as they are technically trespassing?

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