Saying No To Potential Tenant is Best Done This Way
As the owner of a Wesley Chapel Property Management company, I personally approve and deny all rental applications. I do this for one simple reason: to avoid nightmare tenants. This type of tenant doesn't pay the rent on time or at all, trashes the home, is a constant, demanding person who doesn't abide by the terms of the lease, and more often then not ends up owing you a lot of money and possibly gets evicted.
Nightmare tenants are (in my estimation) 3% of the population, and since 36.6% of the people rent in the US, that is about 10% of all potential tenants. The key to avoiding them as a Wesley Chapel property manager is to screen properly. To learn more details of how to do this, please see my other articles or videos.The purpose of this article is how to break the bad news that you will not be accepting a potential applicant as a renter because
he or she doesn't meet your rental criteria. The big key is do not share this news through a phone conversation! This recommendation has nothing to do with avoiding confrontation. It has everything to do with avoiding being sucked into the lies and manipulations of the worst of the worst tenants.
You see, the truly dangerous potential tenants are those who are gifted at lying. They will tug on your heartstrings by making claims of hardship and how "they just need a chance." They will appeal to your greed by offering to pay several months in advance or higher security deposit. This person might offer to paint the home for free, do repairs, or solve whatever issue you might be having. Some will start crying and begging you to reconsider, and I'm not kidding here.
I've literally had a nightmare tenant tell me their child just got over cancer.This was a lie but a plausible explanation of why their credit was so bad.They said it with such sincerity and emotion that it is almost inconceivable they were lying to us, but they were.
The key is to sidestep this whole ordeal and just deny them by email or text. I know some people will say it is better not to put anything in writing to avoid writing something that you could be sued for, but I like to just give a simple explanation. I deny for credit, lack of good rental history, lack of income, or not long enough of on the job. I do not provide details and will not engage in requests for more information. This is how you get into trouble because the nightmare tenants will suck you into a heated back and forth argument.
Let me share with a real-life example that just happened a day before I wrote this. We had a family apply to rent a home. They had just moved to area a few years ago and they had only been on the job for 6 months for husband and 2 years for the wife. However, the husband made 2/3rd of the income and was a painter. They had stayed into three different rentals in 2 ½ years and were breaking the lease with the current landlord. Their credit was terrible with FICO scores in the low 500's, and each of them had recent car repossession. However, they loved the home and made quite a bit more money than was the minimum requirement.
I turned them down, but my assistant denied them on the phone and gave reasons. They then came back with all sorts of explanations and pleas. Tugging on the heartstrings of my assistant, they get my assistant to come back and see me. I told him to check out how many times if any police had been called out to their current residence, and then I would reconsider. It turns out the police were called out 19 times. But wait there is more…the tenant had heart-wrenching stories of how these calls were not their fault but the fault of friends and a dysfunctional daughter. That's right; she threw her daughter under the proverbial bus. Needless to say, I denied them.
Realize the hardest skill you must master to be a successful landlord is saying no to prospective tenants that don't meet your written criteria. It's like the old saying for carpenters, "measure twice and cut once."Take your time and find a good tenant and not an easy one. What I mean by easy tenant is someone who will move in write away, has cash, loves the home, and is willing to accept the rental in rough condition.
Staying off the phone while denying unqualified tenants is a key habit to be a successful landlord.The bad tenants will try and wear you down with pleas, tears, and unbelievably detailed stories that make you feel sorry for them. They will appeal to your greed by paying several months in advance or will develop such positive rapport that you feel guilty denying them by phone. Keep in mind, this tip is easy to do which therefore makes it easy not to do.