Warning Signs of a Potential Problem Tenant : Can’t Answer Simple Questions

If you are a landlord or real estate agent, you know that checking a potential tenant’s bank, credit, background, landlord references, and employment information can help you determine whether that person would be a good rental prospect. If the potential renter has shown a history of paying his or her rent on time, that person would make a good tenant, right? Actually, there are other signs that could indicate a tenant who might not become a problem.

Everything else about the applicant appears to be okay so we sometimes ignore these warning signs. Many other times, we are in such a hurry to get the unit back on a paying basis, we go ahead and rent to the person anyway.

When your applicant begins to make a series of statements or excuses of why he or she cannot comply with your requests for information, you may have a potential problem renter. In these instances, you really need to explore further and to ask follow-up questions.

Can’t Answer Simple Questions

Remember, when you are showing a unit to a prospective tenant, you are not just selling the unit to them, but you should also be taking this opportunity to interview them as well to determine if they will be a good tenant. By asking them questions about what they do, where they work, and how they like it, it will give you insight into how stable they are with their job.

Also, ask them about their current residence. What they like, don’t like, and why they are moving. Where they currently live, what amenities are in the area that they like, etc. If they are not able to answer these simple questions they may be trying to hide something, they may actually not even live in the area that they claim to be, or it may just be temporary housing since they have already been evicted.

A huge red flag is if they have trouble remembering their landlord information, especially the contact information. If they can’t remember it, need to get back to you, or accidentally give you the wrong number, they are more than likely trying to hide something. They are also probably trying to get a friend to act as their landlord, but need to talk to them first to give them a warning that you may call, and what to tell them. The optimum scenario would be if the tenant says good things about their landlord, is open to discussing them and giving their contact information and has a good reason for moving (job moved, the family grew, landlord moving into the unit). Whatever they tell you though, make sure to verify with their current landlord.

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, Instant 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.

One of the easiest ways to address tenant problems is to avoid them altogether. To ensure you get the information you need we’ve created a download that shows you the 9 Most Effective Methods To Reduce Tenant Problems. Get your download today!

You may want to review some other warning signs of problem tenants as well, see what else you can do to address those issues:

Are They Reluctant to Complete a Rental Application?

Did They Bring Lots of People to See the Place?

A Potential Renter Who Has Had Multiple Jobs

A Potential Renter Had Multiple Addresses

What About Self-Employment?

Are They in Too Big of a Hurry to Rent?

Are They Ready To Give You Money Upfront?

No Verifiable Landlord Reference.

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1 Comment. Leave new

Excellent article. Especially for Realtors and Property managers sourcing for a tenant..These folks simply don’t ask the right questions…and some times they don’t ask any questions at all. The simply ask the prospective tenant to compete the application.