Examining Skips, Evictions, and Crime in Tenant Incident Reports
We took a look at a sample from our tenant incident reporting system and analyzed the data to see what were the common behaviors exhibited by tenants that had a report made about them and what was the frequency of these occurrences.
According to our sample, s skipping tenant is 4 times more likely to have caused significant damage to the premises than a tenant that was evicted. Landlords did not frequently report late payments for skips. This is likely because tenants skip early in their tenancy, thereby reducing the opportunity for them to be late in their rent payments. A tenant will typically skip on a property an average of 6 months before the end of their lease, resulting in lost revenue from rents as well as the cost to make ready the unit and re-let it.
Landlords tend to prefer tenants who plan to live at their property for a long period of time vs. a short period of time, but sometimes landlords will overlook problem signs because the tenant stayed for so long. Sometimes a tenant can abuse this leniency and force the landlord to evict the tenant. There are other ways that a tenant can become a problem for the landlord other than through a simple skip. Most to all evictions occurred due to tenants having a history of late payments. In only two cases in our sample were late payments reported for tenants that skipped.
Long-stay residents had highs of 10-20 late payments of rent. A couple of late rent payments are permissible, but routine late payments can represent a significant cost to property management primarily when the bank is expecting monthly payments on the mortgage of the property. There also is a significant time investment in having to follow up with tenants about making payments. To alleviate some of the costs associated with late payments, we strongly recommend charging a $50-$60 late payment fee to cover your own late fees that you will have to pay to the bank.
One incident report out of forty in our sample had three counts of criminal activity reported. A larger sample will need to be taken in order to accurately determine what percentage of incident reports occur due to criminal activity. However we believe that number to be somewhere between 1% and 2% of tenants that have an incident reported on them. That means if you find yourself evicting tenants frequently, about 1 out of every 100 tenants that you evict will have caused criminal activity on your premises.
What’s worse is that landlords can be held liable for having criminals such as drug dealers on their premises, whether knowingly or not. In some cases, the government will even seize your property. Screening a tenant’s backgrounds is a great way to decrease the number of incidents that happen on your property. It’s also helpful for you to write in the terms of the lease that you reserve the right to evict anyone you catch dealing drugs on your property. Finally it’s important to listen carefully to what other tenants are saying in order to monitor criminal activity on your property.