6 Visible Warning Signs When Meeting with Potential Tenants

As a landlord, you hope to always have good tenants who pay on time and never cause trouble.

While you can’t be sure every person you rent to will be what you’re looking for, you can avoid many hassles by being aware of the signs of a bad tenant before you approve them.

Make sure to keep a lookout for the following potential signs when working through your tenant screening process.

1. A Large Group of People
When an applicant brings in a group of people to look at the apartment, it may not mean they will be a bad tenant.

It does indicate the possibility of a lot of traffic coming to the unit. If the other tenants like a quiet neighborhood, they may not appreciate the added noise.

Another concern about having a large group of people come to see an apartment is they might be checking out the property for potential burglary or even possible illegal activity once the person moves in.

Of course, it may just be concerned family who want their loved one to get a good landlord.

2. Multiple Jobs
A person who talks about numerous jobs in the interview may be a poor risk.

While switching jobs to improve their income or for other good reasons isn’t a bad indication, multiple jobs with terms of non-employment indicates they may have trouble paying their rent.

If the person has a job that doesn’t seem to fit the amount of rent they’re willing to pay, you may want to consider the source of their income is illegal.

Even if they have enough money in a savings account, it doesn’t tell you what they did to earn it.

3. Payment in Cash
While the saying, cash is king, may be true in certain situations, it’s not necessarily a good thing when renting.

If your applicant offers to pay in cash, especially in return for a fast application process, you might want to think twice.

Payment in cash could indicate the person has obtained that money through drugs or other illegal activity. It may also be the last money they have from a job they were fired from.

You have to wonder if they will continue to be able to pay the rent after that time.

4. Possible Drug or Alcohol Addiction
A person who comes in to rent a unit with the smell of alcohol on his breath or one who acts hyper and fidgety or shows other signs of addiction may have a problem you don’t want to deal with.

It could end up costing you money in terms of rent payments or reputation if the police are called to the property.

5. Lack of Interest
If an applicant seems willing to rent the unit sight unseen, you should be worried.

Someone looking at a place for their home is going to want to know about the amenities and make sure they like the place.

If they aren’t interested in the unit, it may indicate they won’t take care of it or don’t plan to have it for long.

It could also indicate they’re using it for other purposes besides a living space.

6. Lack of Rental History
An applicant who only mentions living with friends may have a rental history they want to hide.

While some people do live with others beyond their college years, you want to make sure they are responsible enough to take care of the place, pay the rent and pay for other expenses such as utilities.

Even though you can’t eliminate everyone who doesn’t fit your image of an ideal tenant, you can look for warning signs of a bad applicant.

Avoid issues before they occur, rather than being forced to deal with them after the fact.


Posted on Jan 18, 2016


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