Every time rental properties fall vacant, landlords need to embark on a long process that will find them their next best tenant. Here’s a list of 25 tip offs that will help you recognize a bad tenant from a mile away.
Is More Interested In Your Other Tenants: It’s normal for any applicant to be curious about the kind of people your other tenants are; whether there are families with children; or, the kind of pets your other tenants have. However, it’s an entirely different thing if an applicant wants to know personal details about a specific tenant; seems more interested in knowing if a particular tenant’s house has the same floorplan; or, the habits of a tenant such as the time they go for a run or leave for work. If a person is trying to weave invasive questions like the above into their conversation with you, you need to ask them to leave immediately.
Abuses A Child In Front Of You: Not everybody is great with kids and that is alright. But when someone crosses the line with either their own children or with those of your other tenants, that screams bad tenant. People who yell or use abusive language to control their children during an inspection cannot be expected to treat them any better when they move into your property. If you come across such a situation, then watch the children for other signs of abuse: Do they have bruises in unusual places? Do they seem well-cared for? Are they presentable? Do they seem scared of a parent? If it’s very obvious they’ve been abused, then you might even need to alert the authorities about this applicant.
Is Creepy or Intimidating: When you’re with the applicant, assess how they make you feel: Are they like regular people or do they make you feel strange? Although it’s possible that a person may inadvertently invade another’s personal space, it happens very rarely and they will be immediately apologetic. If an applicant invades your space deliberately, giving off a creepy vibe; or, tries to intimidate you with their size and strength into changing the way you go about selecting your tenants, then you need to move on to the next applicant. If they can creep you or try to scare you, then they can just as easily do the same with an existing tenant.
Litters Your Property: Littering is a sign that the applicant has scant respect for a space – whether it’s indoors or outdoors. If an applicant litters your property during the inspection, that’s exactly how they will treat your property even after moving in. It shows that they are careless people who take a space for granted and that’s hardly the kind of tenant you need.
Is Discriminatory Towards Other Races: If you’re the landlord of a multifamily property, there’s a good chance that your tenant pool is a mix of multiple races. Even if it’s a single-family property, people in the neighborhood may belong to other races. If your potential tenant displays any openly racist behavior or attitudes, you’d do well to bid them goodbye immediately. When a person has no tolerance for other people and cultures, it’s quite obvious they aren’t going to win the ‘Best Tenant’ award.
Makes Previous Landlords Hesitate: A regular part of the tenant screening process is speaking to your applicant’s previous landlords to get a reference. If you sense hesitation coming from any of their previous landlords when you ask if they will take the applicant back as a tenant, then you need to move on to the next applicant.
Nitpicks About Everything If an applicant moves about your property making a string of negative comments or making excessive demands during the inspection that will be exactly how they will continue if they become your tenant. While you need to accommodate any reasonable requests, you also need to steer clear of people who constantly complain or take you for granted.
Gets Angry With You: If an applicant is argumentative, accusatory or intimidating during the inspection, then that’s a person who you need to keep out of your property. While disagreements are quite common, the degree to which a person disagrees matters. Are they willing to see things from your point of view as well? Are they open to making certain compromises? Or, do they take a stand and stick to it?
Gives You A Bad Gut Feeling: There are some people who you instantly take a liking to and that’s your gut telling you, you like the person. It works the other way too: You will know it immediately when your gut feeling isn’t great about someone. Always trust your instinct when it comes to choosing your next tenant. Your instinct is most probably right.
Evict Bad Tenants At All Costs
The main reason why being a landlord gets such a bad rap is a terrible tenant. A bad tenant is the single biggest cause of all landlord misery and you must avoid such people at all costs. They are often criminals, scammers or uncivilized persons, at the very best, and the only way you can protect yourself and your property is to steadfastly stick to your tenant screening process.
Despite your best efforts, if you get stuck with a bad tenant, don’t lose hope. It’s possible to remedy the situation legally through an eviction. But, like all legal proceedings, evictions need to be done with the right kind of legal guidance and without any delays. They can be tedious, but evictions are the only way you can reclaim your property and your peace of mind.