Things to Look for when Screening Tenants

Throughout your time as a Landlord, you may deal with a lot of tenants. It is the problematic tenants that give you the most stress and may cause you to lose both time and money, rather than gain. From one Landlord to another, you can avoid all of these unnecessary headaches by steering clear of potential tenants that display these four red flags that most Landlords seem to brush off:

The Lush Tenant. As a Landlord, I have seen my fair share of problematic tenants, so certain red flags jump out at me automatically. I once had a potential tenant who came to my property for a scheduled appointment to view the house. When he got out of his car and came to shake my hand I got a nice big smell of what seemed to be alcohol. The potential tenant wreaked of both alcohol and cigarette smoke. This was a red flag to me. Now do not get me wrong, alcohol and smoking may not necessarily mean that they will be throwing frequent parties and such, but it may be a strong indicator that they may treat your house the way they treat their own bodies. It is probably a very good idea to stay clear of anyone who seems to always be drinking or smoking, unless you want your house smelling that way.

The Anger Management Poster Child. As I was leading a potential tenant into one of my rental properties, the individual got a phone call. He answered his phone and started screaming and cursing at the person on the other line. He lost his temper very quickly. This was a red flag to me. I was with this potential tenant for only about fifteen minutes, and I had already started to see exactly who I did not want to be living in my property. People with short tempers are usually destructive and harder to deal with. Even if a person seems difficult to work with while you are showing them the house, they may also prove to be harder to tend to as a tenant.

Children Gone Wild. Another example of a tenant you should stay clear of are the ones who can’t control their children, or let their children run wild. If you are showing the house and the child is running around acting crazy, that should be a major red flag to you. One problem I have seen multiple times while showing a house, is a child that likes to swing on the refrigerator door. This shows that the tenant will most likely damage lots of things in the house, because their children cannot respect the property. This may cost you more in the long run to fix or replace many things in order to make your property rental ready after they leave. Further, tenants like this may cause you a lot of stress of worrying how they are treating your property.

The Persistent Negotiator. You should also be aware of tenants that may not seem to be able to pay the rent. If the potential tenant seems persistent about getting you to lower the rent, then that is a good sign that they are worried about being able to pay the rent that you want. If the potential tenant doesn’t have an adequate income or has a bad reputation of not being able to pay past rents then you should stay away. You should not have to chase your tenant down for the rent on your property.

Please keep in mind that no family or individual is perfect and these red flags may not always lead to horrific outcomes, but exercising good judgment and foresight may save you from a ton of future grief and heartache as a Landlord.