Apr 08 2016



Tags: bad tenants  landlords  renting property  lease agreement  property manager 

Warning Signs of Bad Tenants
Recognize the warning signs of a bad tenant before you approve them.

As a landlord or property manager, it is always a good idea to be able to recognize a potentially bad client, before agreeing to lease property to them. Usually there are a number of standard questions that a landlord might ask a potential tenant, even before making an appointment to view the property. By doing this, a landlord should be able to potentially eliminate an unwanted tenant from the beginning.

If the landlord has any reservations or concerns, he could disqualify you without going any further. This procedure ensures he doesn't get unwanted surprises later on; even so it is still difficult to detect a potentially bad tenant by just a telephone conversation.

To help better detect a potentially bad tenant, we have listed 6 Red Flag Warning Signs to look out for when considering renting your property.

Red Flag #1: Tenant is In a Hurry to Sign the Lease Agreement.
If the client seems over eager to sign the lease agreement, this should be a warning sign of a potentially bad client. Unless the client has a legitimate reason, such as changing jobs or relocating to a new city, it should be considered a warning sign.

Another caution signal to heed to is that the client could have been evicted by a previous landlord and now urgently needs to find new living arrangements.

Also consider the fact that just as a landlord requires a certain period of notice by the tenant before leaving, so too should he have enough time to get the property into a good living condition and attend to any problems before the new tenant moves in.

Red Flag #2: Number of People the Tenant Brings to View the Property
If the client arrives with numerous people to view the property, you should ask him to clarify the number of people that intend to occupy the premises. The more people that reside in a residence, the greater the risk of repairs and maintenance and you may want to reconsider leasing to a tenant that has more occupants than what you had intended.

You and the client should also be aware that in certain townhouse complexes, the body corporate may have certain by-laws that indicate the maximum number of people allowed to occupy a unit, or even the number of people allowed to occupy a single bedroom. These laws are in place for good reason, so as landlord, you should be aware of them and make them known to your tenants before signing any lease agreement.

Red Flag #3: Tenant Has Changed Address Numerous Times
If the client has changed addresses multiple times in a short space of time, it should raise cause for concern. Changing an address too often is an indication that the person may be unstable or unable to keep up with their rental or may even have been evicted a few times. This is the kind of tenant you want to avoid from the beginning, so a tenant who has often changed addresses in a short space of time, should be a warning signal.

Red Flag #4: Tenant Does Not Consent to a Credit Check
As a general rule of thumb, the tenant's income should be at least 2 to 3 times more than the rental of the property. This will ensure the client will not default with the rent and not fall into financial difficulties because of paying it.

Asking the client what they earn or do for a living is usually a good idea and the client should not object to you asking these kinds of questions.

As it sometimes happens, some tenants may lie or exaggerate on their earnings, so it may be in your best interest to consider asking for proof of income from their employee. You can also do a background or credit check on the potential tenant, to have peace of mind that they have not been blacklisted or have a criminal record.

Red Flag #5: Tenant Refuses To Supply Reference Checks
You should make it clear to all potential tenants that this is standard procedure and that all applicants provide past references. Unless the client has a legitimate reason for not supplying a reference, such as leaving home for the first time, they should not have a problem in providing you with a couple of references of past landlords.

Past landlords, should be able to form an honest, unbiased opinion of your client, how they paid their rent, any problems they encountered and also how long they rented for.

If a potential tenant refuses to provide you with a reference from a past landlord, this should raise concerns as to why they are reluctant. Perhaps they had a disagreement with their landlord or they were evicted? This is ultimately your decision, but it should raise caution for potential problems that you may have in the future.

Red Flag #6: Tenant's Attitude and General Behavior
This may seem like a small thing, but a person's attitude and behavior can give you a clear indication of what they may be like as tenants. For example, if the client argues or gets aggressive over providing a reference check, they may also argue or get aggressive when it comes to other things, such as fixing a leaky faucet. This is not the type of client you want renting your property.

You should also consider the client's general appearance and whether the client was punctual to view the property. Generally speaking, a person who appears sloppy or untidy may feel the same way about the upkeep of your property, which is not want you want as a landlord. A client, who arrives late, without a valid excuse, may also feel it unnecessary to pay his rent on time either, so you should also make a point of their punctuality.

In conclusion, if you are able to detect these red flags when meeting potential tenants, you will be able to save yourself many problems later on. You should be able to screen your potential clients before agreeing to let them sign the lease and can rest assured that you find the right tenant, who will not only pay their rent on time, but also look after your valuable investment.

Related Article: Get The Correct Selling Price For Your Property


Dalena Marketing

Hi George and thank you for your comment!

Indeed the landlord would almost always require proof of income from the potential tenant, whether they are self employed or not.

In the case of self-employment, one would usually be required to provide some kind of proof of the existence of your business, such as registration of the company, closed corporation, website address, or even a business card. In some cases, a copy of your bank statement may be asked to be provided.

Basically, the landlord needs proof that you will be able to pay the deposit and rental and not default from it down the line. I would also like to refer you to our latest article, which explains the process between landlord and tenant in more detail.

Posted By Dalena Marketing

Blog Comment

Hi there and thanks for a very interesting article! On the 4'th Red Flag, you mention that the landlord may require proof of income/employment from your present employee, so I'd like to know what would happen in the case you are self employed, or may not have a stable, permanent income? Thanks

Posted By George Banks - United States

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