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7 Warning Signs to Avoid the Worst Type of Tenants in Property Management

Tenants do not suddenly become “tenants from hell” to a property management company. There is a pattern of behavior over their entire adult life that will show up in a thorough background check. A Tampa Property Management company just has to be able to identify the signs of a potential “dead-beat tenant” and disqualify their application. Having the skill to recognize this type of tenant is perhaps one of the most important a property manager will ever develop.

1) Credit Report is blank or has very little activity. This usually means the person is using someone else’s social security number. Often, this tenant gets an older person’s social who rarely uses credit. Heck, I have even seen deceased people’s social security number used on rental applications.

2) Landlord Doesn’t Answer Questions Smoothly. This is often a tip-off that the person is using a friend or family member as their “previous landlord.” This person will pause and use “umm” and “ahh” when trying to come up with an appropriate answer. They do not know how to answer the questions professionally. This fake landlord might also answer the questions very abruptly because they are trying to not get caught in a lie. If anything like this occurs, you should immediately ask more detailed questions. If the landlord continues to have difficultly with their answers, you should deny the application.

3) The address listed on the application for previous address doesn’t match the address reported on the credit report. All credit reports will show previous addresses reported by the tenant when applying for credit. You should require landlord information for the past two landlords. If those addresses do not appear on their credit report, you should be concerned that the tenant is lying. This is not always the case, but you need to be skeptical and do more research.

4) The phone number given for their employment appears to be a cell phone. Once again, bad tenants will have a friend or family member pretend to be their supervisor. I require our property managers to find and call the main phone number of the business and ask to be patched through to the supervisor or HR Dept. We also require copy of pay stubs. If you do these two steps, you will find the tenants who are lying in this manner very easily.

5) The Tenant owes money to an Electric Company on their Credit Report. If you ask the prospective tenant, they will usually pretend to be surprised. Owing money to an electric company is a major red flag. This typically means they will have a friend or family member turn on the electric in their name. In our experience, 90% of these type of tenants turn out to awful. Do not approve anyone with this issue on their credit report.

6) Anyone who has cash in hand and needs to move in this weekend. Unless they are moving from out of state, they usually are the worst of the worst tenants. They are typically being evicted from a previous rental or skipping out. When I encounter a prospect like this, I start asking a ton of questions about their previous landlords, jobs, reason for moving, etc. I have made exceptions in the past and have always ended up evicting this type of tenant. Stay away.

7) The tenant has no rental history or credit. You will encounter younger people on a regular basis with no previous rental history and very little credit. I realize that some of them will be decent tenants; however, it is not worth the risk. You should deny anyone in this circumstance. If they do not have a proven track record, you have no proof this person has any sense of reponsibility in paying their rent and taking care of a rental.

If you keep these 7 warning signs in mind when doing your background checks on prospective tenants, your property management company will save a ton of money and aggravation by avoiding the “nightmare” tenants.

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