Tenant Screening: 7 Red Flags To Watch Out For

HiBusiness has provided various articles on tenant screening. However, this article aims at aiding you with the tenant screening process by focusing on the alarm bells that you should hear when interviewing your tenant and to prevent you from renting out your property to a terrible tenant.

Take a look…

#1. Bad or Missing Rental References

One thing that you should be mindful of is a bad landlord reference. An even worse red flag is having a tenant with missing rental references or shady references.

So before handing over that lease agreement, be sure to call the references and find out more information.

Ask questions like: Did the tenant always pay on time? Were there ever complaints form/about other tenants?

If the landlord gives a negative response or tries to dodge your questions, then you should have your antennas up.

#2. ‘Funny’ Behavior During Interview

The red flag that you should mindful of might not be in the document handed over to you. It may be in the discussion that both you and the tenant should have.

Be sure to have a sit-down with your tenant and ask all the questions you want answered.

Keep your eyes open for any suspicious body language like nervousness.

Does the person try to evade questions? Does he keep rescheduling or arriving late for the interview? Is his story with regards to work and other related matters consistent?

Keep an eye out and your ears open.

#3. Refusal To Provide More Information

People who have nothing to hide will definitely hide nothing.

An incomplete or vague answer to questions during the interview or on their application means that there is something worth hiding.

One thing that most tenants find hard to disclose is their social security number. Of course, some tenants may be a stickler about privacy but it is necessary to have the information in order to carry out a proper credit check. Thus, if the tenant finds it hard to release it, it should be marked as a red flag.

#4. Repeated Moving

On your list of “Ideal Tenant”, you should have someone that will stay for a long time, at least a year and someone who can pay on time.

A person who has a history of moving places regularly, possibly more than once in a year needs to be avoided. So make sure to ask how long the person intends to stay and check out their rental history.

#5. Gaps In Employment

A long period of unemployment could be a red flag but could also have plausible explanations, ranging from illness to maternity leave. Whilst interviewing your tenant, do not hesitate to question the gaps in employment and ask them the reason for it.

Inability to answer your question or giving an unreliable answer should be a red flag to take note of.

#6. Inadequate Income

Studying the current and past income of a tenant gives you an idea as to whether the tenant has enough money to pay rent, on time. Naturally, rent costs should not be above or beyond 1/3 of the tenant’s income so they should be pay comfortably.

However, before putting a price on the property, ensure that you do your research on how much rent is on properties like yours in order to prevent your tenant struggling to pay rent monthly.

#7. Eagerness To Move in

We’re not saying wanting to move into a new property quickly is wrong. In some cases, it should not be a red flag. It could be a sign of a lost job, eviction from their present property or unexpected move.

Find out the reason for their wanting to move in fast and if they lack any good reasons (such as having their house burn down), then take it as a red flag.


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