Have you ever been sitting around a table with a few other landlords, swapping stories, and wondered where on earth they find these crazy tenants that they seem to have had at some point in their career? The stories stick with them and they were (hopefully) learning experiences that both they and you can take to heart to avoid in the future. Listen carefully, though, because the craziest stories might happen to you.
No one goes into a leasing agreement assuming that their new tenant will drive them crazy. People put their best foot forward when interviewing for a rental, so you can't always take people at face value. Always run a tenant screening. That is going to be your first line of defense against terrible tenants. If they have a habit of paying late on loans and credit cards, they may pay late on rent, or worse: not at all. Check their references and their prior landlords. While this may not be as clear-cut as their credit history, you can often glean useful information that can be combined with more concrete credit reports to go into your decision making. Criminal histories and eviction histories are useful as well and you'll want to make sure that you have all the information needed to make an informed decision.
Once you've made your choice between the various applicants it's a good practice to sit down and explain the rules to the new tenant. This way you'll make sure that you are both on the same page and they can't claim later that you never told them what you expected of them. Some things might seem like common sense, but it's better to make sure that it's stated rather than simply assuming that the new tenant will read the lease in full.
No one wants to be the personal with the crazy stories. Check out BiggerPocket's set of six tips to avoid being that landlord.
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