Warning Signs of a Potential Problem Tenant : Are They Reluctant to Complete a Rental Application?

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.

Are They Reluctant to Complete a Rental Application?

This is an immediate red flag that this could be a difficult applicant. Maybe this is actually someone you know, like a friend or a relative. That friend or relative may ask you if they can skip this step. Don’t start your vacancy process by playing favorites, everyone must meet the criteria and follow the rules.


This applicant may be surprised that he or she has to comply with your renting requirements. You must consider this your business and by treating it this way it ensures that you are treating everyone equally and complies with state and federal fair housing legislation. It is also most helpful to something in writing to review and compare from one applicant to another.

The best defense to a bad rental applicant is to run a tenant check and then cross-reference information in each of the reports. Soon, you may see a pattern that at the very least will lead you to ask more questions or to reject this tenant before they have a chance to cost you any money. The references for the previous landlord and the jobs both current and past are also very critical to confirm that all the information is true and correct prior to approving them as a new resident.

Having anyone that does not meet any and all of your requirements needs to be dealt with in the same manner in every situation, once you have a system be sure to use this same in every case. I would also recommend that you have an employee handbook that spells out exactly how you want your employees to handle these particular situations.

If you have a friend that wants to rent the property you own or manage and they want to forgo the application process you must explain that this is the only way they will have a chance to live in this community, if they don’t comply then move on to the next potential resident.

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:

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.

Willing To Take Anything Available?

Can’t Answer Simple Questions