How to Identify Deadbeat Tenants

Having a tenant that will constantly avoid paying their rent on time or take care of the property they're renting can be quite troublesome and expensive. By being able to identity these deadbeat tenants during the screening process, a landlord can save a lot of unnecessary expenses because they'll be able to screen them out during the application process. Here are some of the common ways you can spot trouble before it moves into your rental unit.

There Are Problems With the Background Check

One of the first indicators that there may be trouble with an applicant is that there is an issue with their background check. Everyone has a few parking or speeding tickets for the most part, sometimes even unpaid, but you're more concerned with issues that are related to the care of a property. If they've been charged with a crime in the past regarding their treatment of a rental unit, the background check will find this. It will also note felony and misdemeanor convictions which you may or may not be concerned about.

There Is a Low Credit Score

Having a low credit score doesn't always mean that a tenant will be a deadbeat, but it definitely increases the risks. The average credit score in most countries is about 700. In order to lower this score to 600, there must be a number of outstanding bills that have not been paid or a bankruptcy on their credit score. To lower this score to 550 or below, there may be even more problematic issues, such as a foreclosure, active judgment, or other failure to pay issues. Screen carefully here and stick to your policies, not your gut feelings.

There Is an Eviction On Their Record

If a previous landlord has had to evict someone, there's a good chance that this will be on their credit record. Make sure to specifically check for evictions when you perform your credit checks and screen out applicants that have had a recent eviction. You'll also want to look through public records for lawsuits that an applicant may have filed in the past against other landlords to know what you might be up against.

Don't Rent to Friends Or Family

Although many family members or friends are honest individuals who will always pay their rent on time, there are some that will try to take advantage of a relationship they have with you or the landlord for whom you work. Just set a policy in stone right now that you won't rent to them if at all possible and don't get desperate. It's cheaper to not rent a unit than it is to rent to a deadbeat tenant.

Check References Immediately

If someone is listed as a reference and they don't have good things to say about your applicant that should qualify them for an immediate screen out. Make sure to meet everyone in person before agreeing to rent as well so that you can get a feel of who they are. Deadbeat tenants often know they won't pass a screening process, so set up individual meetings and make the process extensive to eliminate the tenants you don't want applying for your open units from even bothering to try.
Posted on Jul 17, 2014


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