how to identify bad tenants

Landlords are always on the search for high-quality tenants.

Quality tenants are not always easy to find but, where they are found, every effort should be made to keep them on board. That means making an extra effort – surveying your rental property and addressing any existing problems. In real terms, this means replacing faulty appliances, ensuring the property is – from top to bottom – as clean as possible. It means ensuring that utilities work as they should. It also means giving the rental property a thorough and professional lick of paint.

Taking these steps keeps the tenant on board.

But it doesn’t always work out this way.

Often, you don’t find the perfect tenant – far from it. It only takes one bad tenant to destroy the income potential of your rental. It’s a risk not worth taking.

As the landlord, there are effective steps you can take to spot the tell-tale signs of a bad tenant – steps which, though they seem obvious, often go unheard.

Understanding Context

One of the tell-tale signs of a bad tenant is how desperate / not desperate they are.

For example – the prospective tenant may be anxious to “move in immediately”. Perhaps they’re not in permanent accommodation yet and, if not, that should raise alarm bells.

There may be several reasons why they’re in need of immediate accommodation. It may mean that they have been evicted. It could mean that they lack any mature sense of planning – leaving things to the last minute in the hope of finding something secure. It may also mean that they let their lease expire without giving themselves enough time to find a new property. Whatever reason we find – it doesn’t look good.

Of course, the tenant may be the victim of circumstances outside their control. It’s possible, but unlikely.

That’s precisely why it’s important for landlords to conduct due diligence – learning about the circumstances behind every tenant; their work status, their criminal history, their recent history with past landlords, their credit history as well as their existing circumstances.

If you do not have enough time to conduct these analyses, think about hiring a property management company. They have the team and skills and database of prospective tenants to filter through to help you find the ideal tenant.

First impressions

Don’t be fooled by first impressions.

Many tenants want to move into your rental. Expect tenants to act in a manner that fits this cause. Like a job interview, they want to come across with the most optimistic impression. However, you shouldn’t be fooled by emotion.

At the end of the day, it’s the facts that matter.

Hard facts. Facts related to their background – financial, work, criminal etc. – and their suitability for the rental place. In real terms, then, it’s documents and evidence that matter and not necessarily how “nice” a prospective tenant comes across.

The landlord who side-lines evidence in favor of emotional intuition is making a grave mistake.

Similarly, tenants who – even though they come across well – ask for deposits to be paid later, should signal a distinct, large, red, beaming warning sign. You should learn more about their work history. Whether they work as a part-time builder or a full-time pharmacy technician, these details matter. It lets you know how credible they are to remain in work for a long and sustainable period of time.

Final thoughts

The tell-tale signs of a bad tenant are not hard to spot.

Landlords need to conduct due diligence. You must take the time to investigate each tenant and their suitability to the rental – their personal background and ability to pay over the long-term.

Anything other approach risks securing a bad tenant and the earning potential of your rental.

Triumph is the leading property management company in Las Vegas. Check back to our real estate blog soon for even more great signs of a bad tenant.