When you’re searching for your next tenant, experience is more valuable than instinct, every time. Does your gut say that you’ve found the right one? Trust your gut—but trust and verify. Do your due diligence, and watch for these warning signs that you shouldn’t rent to a tenant.
When you verify employment and income, look for consistency. Ideally, they should have a monthly income that’s two to three times the rent. A lot of people have fallen on hard times, so you can allow for flexibility if things are looking up for them. But if they end up declaring bankruptcy, that affects you, too.
A Bad Credit Report
High debts and high monthly payments indicate that tenants could have higher priorities than paying the rent. Don’t take on anyone with a habit of making late payments, unless you want them to continue the pattern.
An Incomplete Application
There can be a lot of explanations for blanks on an application, and they are rarely good. The tenant may not take the legalities seriously, or even be hiding something. Maybe they have sloppy attention spans, or don’t even know the answers. Warning! Trouble ahead.
They Haggle About the Deposit
If they seem overly concerned about putting down money for a deposit, they may have forfeited deposits before because of property damage. And if they don’t have that much cash liquid, the tenant is probably living paycheck to paycheck, and more likely to skip a rent check.
Lots of Jobs and Addresses
An excessive number of jobs can be a signal that they’ll jump at any opportunity, and may not finish out the lease. Several home addresses can point to a restless or unstable lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with a renter who wants to “find themselves” on a vision quest in the desert—unless they never come back to pay the rent.
If any of these circumstances arise, you don’t have to rule out tenants immediately. Just talk to them, and find out more. The good news is that there are a lot of warning signs that you shouldn’t rent to a tenant, and some are obvious: Do they have an entourage? Are they late for the showing and the interview? Does it sound like the same guy is answering all your reference calls with different accents? Then it’s probably a good idea to consider another candidate.
If you’re looking for property management in Orange County, FL, R. Russell Properties can help screen renters for you. We have decades of experience to draw on, and our guts might be more accurate than yours. Contact us for more information about how we make landlords’ lives easier.