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Spotting a Bad Tenant

Nothing affects your bottom line more than a bad tenant.  Bad tenants can destroy your property, squat without paying, and leave you with a ton of headaches and expenses.  Here’s how to weed out the good from the bad, and get the kind of tenant that will stay and pay:

1)      Make sure they can prove their income.   Not just for the last few months – Ask them for documentation that will show a history of what they made, and how they made it, for the last year.

2)      Require at least first and security deposit before move – in and negotiate a payment plan for last month if necessary.

3)      Always do a background check.

4)      Never sign a deal without a deposit equal to first month.

5)      Ask for, and check, all landlord references

6)      Find out why they are moving and really listen to what they are saying.  No one moves just for the fun of it.  If they don’t have a clear cut reason, they may be skipping out on another landlord.

7)      Make sure every adult in the house is listed on the lease.

Other things to remember:

  • Stop worrying about credit scores.  Lots of good tenants have bad credit now – Just make sure everything else checks out
  • If your gut tells you they might be bad tenants, they probably will be
  • Make sure you have a GREAT rental agent.  They will keep your best interests at heart and not cut corners to just fill the unit quickly
  • Never, EVER, agree to use last month or security to pay for past due rent.  If they can’t pay now, chances are they won’t pay later.  Get them out as quickly and painlessly as possible, and move on to a better tenant