How to Handle Problem Tenants : The Proxy Renter


There are many instances of encounters with a horrible tenant, not all of which result in a court action. Once the lease agreement is signed and keys are exchanged, a landlord or property manager can only hope things go smoothly. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when it comes to dealing with unpleasant situations regarding tenants. Here are some issues with tenants some of our clients have experienced, and which you may want to try and avoid.

The Proxy Renter

This is an individual that is trying to rent the property on behalf of someone else. They do not intend to live on the property themselves. This is done for a myriad of reasons, maybe the tenant is a sex offender or has a criminal history and does not want to go through a background check. Or possibly, the person living there plans to use the place for Human Trafficking and does not want to be known on the lease. Or they may simply be trying to get into business by subletting for short-term rentals at a profit.  In any instance, this creates a serious problem for any landlord or community.


Before you rent to anyone meet in person with them

Ask questions about who is expected to live there and why they are moving from the place they currently live. Insist that all adult occupants be on the lease, and a complete background check is run on all adult occupants, including credit, criminal, and id verification.    Additional steps would be to contact the previous landlord to make sure they were actually a tenant there, and if there have been any other problems.

 Have a strong no-sublet rental agreement clause

Make sure your lease states that all sublets, regardless of time, are a breach of the lease and subject to immediate eviction if not corrected within the notice to perform timelines of your jurisdiction.

Ultimately, as a landlord or property manager, you won’t always know what type of tenants you will be dealing with until you’re in the leasing process. However, comprehensive tenant screening should give you an idea. Past behavior is a likely dictator of future behavior. Remember to always clearly state the expectations and outline the consequences of breaking the rules in the lease agreement. As it is a legally binding document, it can guide and protect most any situation you encounter.

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