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5 Red Flags to Look for When Screening Tenants

Red-Flags-When-Screening-TenantsLining up the perfect tenants for your rental properties isn’t always easy. Properly screening your prospects can help to avoid possible problems down the road. We’ve already gone over some tips for evaluating a potential renter, but what things should you look out for from the start? Here are 5 red flags that will help you weed out undesirable tenants and help you make wiser choices.

They’re resistant about a background check

Screening tenants 101 dictates that you must conduct a full background check to see each individual’s criminal history and credit rating. If this part of the application process seems to make your prospects nervous, chances are they’ve got something to hide and you may want to steer clear of them.

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They have really bad credit

This is a tough one, especially given the state of the economy over the past 5-10 years, but if the credit rating on your would-be tenants comes back very low, it may be a good indicator that you’ll have issues collecting the rent at some point. A generally low score doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out, but something like a bankruptcy might not be worth taking a chance on.

They’ve got a criminal history

Again, people make mistakes and this ultimately depends on what type of history and how far back the issue dates. For instance, if someone had a conviction for destruction of property or passing bad checks in the recent past, they’re probably not going to make the ideal tenant. A minor crime that occurred 20 years ago with a clean record to follow, on the other hand, may be a different story. Go with your gut.

They have one or more evictions on their record

This one’s pretty obvious. It’s been said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so unless you want to end up in landlord-tenant court, avoid applicants that have a history of non-payment of rent and evictions.

They weren’t truthful on their application

If, during the course of verifying the accuracy of an application, you discover that someone outright lied, you’re probably best to move on to the next candidate. Always double check the important things, like employment status and previous tenancies. If you just take their word for it, you could get burned.

Choosing the right tenants for your rental property is something that should be carefully considered. These five red flags should provide you with a guideline on which to measure your prospects and hopefully narrow down your list of options to those that are most likely to be long-term, responsible tenants.


Get your free copy of The Property Manager’s Guide to Proactive Management — and make the time necessary to plan for an extraordinary future.

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