Screening tenants will always be the first step to avoiding terrible tenants. While good credit and decent recommendations may not grantee the best outcome, it certainly is a good starting place. It will help you work through the (hopefully) many applications you receive for your property and allow you to narrow it down to a collection of promising applicants that would be a great fit. You're likely looking for a good credit score, a clean criminal and eviction record, and high recommendations from prior landlords (it's always best to go back two landlords, if not three to get honest answers). Call employers and call other references if they're provided. Do your homework to cut down on the nightmare scenario of a bad tenant.
What do we mean by a 'bad tenant'? This could mean a variety of things and it might mean something else to different landlords. It could be someone that nags too much and calls at all hours, or it could be a tenant that pays rent late consistently or doesn't pay at all. At least these scenarios are ones that are easily noticed, but the ones you may need to watch out for are the quiet tenants that never complain, but their homes are complete wrecks. They may be hoarders or simply didn't clean once in the year that they've been there. It doesn't matter why if you walk in to do your final inspection and find that the property is trashed.
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