Warning Signs of a Potential Problem Tenant : No Verifiable Landlord Reference

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.

No Verifiable Landlord Reference

Does the person who is looking to rent the apartment currently live with a friend or relative, or is coming from a Single Family Residence, with no landlord information? Even worse, do they ask you to not contact their current landlord because they are “a slum lord”? Many times a potential tenant will try to throw you off of them being a problematic tenant by giving you information that they think you can not verify.


If a potential tenant states that they are currently living with a relative, or friend, get as much information as possible, ask for a copy of the current utility bill to verify that that relative or friend actually lives there.

Many times a problematic tenant will give you a friend’s name and number to cover for them if they have had past problems with their current landlord. When calling for a rental verification, the first question you should ask is if they are the owner of the property or a property manager. If the person answering the call says they are a property manager, ask what company, or if they are licensed (most states require a real estate license to be a property manager).

Also, cross reference the address and previous addresses they’ve put on their application with the addresses that come up on their credit reports. Usually, the credit report addresses are the actual correct address, and they should match the addresses reported on the tenants’ applications.

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 //static.leadpages.net/leadboxes/current/embed.js 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?

Willing To Take Anything Available?

Can’t Answer Simple Questions

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