In the rental property business, it is vital that the person interviewing or showing properties to tenants be able to notice any signs that the tenant is or will become a dead-beat tenant. Dead-beat tenants are among the top factors in real estate that can cost the property owner lots of money. They are also the number one reason that many people never get into owning rental properties or have and have since gotten out of it. Below is a short list of five signs that people can use to detect the dead-beat tenant before it is too late.
(Property owner and landlord are used interchangeably throughout this article)
1.) Rental Application – The rental application is an obvious first step in determining whether a tenant is no good or not. The application contains information that projects dead giveaways to bad tenants, such as, poor work history, prior evictions, bankruptcy information, financial information, and so on. Many landlords don’t use rental applications, which is a mistake because they miss all of the warning signs that are mentioned above.
2.) Attitude – If the landlord is showing the property to prospective tenants and their attitude is less than well-behaved, imagine how it will be once the property owner is gone. Visual gestures, also known as body language, say far more than their mouth ever can. It is also much harder for people to lie through their body language than it is when they speak.
3.) Appearance – Although there are always people that are an exception to the rule, appearance does matter. If the prospective tenant is dirty, wearing worn clothes, smells in any way, or has any other noticeable hygiene issues, don’t even consider them. If they cannot take care of themselves, what makes one think they will take care of their property.
4.) Credit Report – Another very powerful tool, credit reports can be acquired online on literally hundreds, even thousands of web sites for as little as $5.99 per report. These reports aren’t always necessary, but if one is considering renting to a tenant that they feel may be a border-line dead-beat tenant, than running the report could be the difference between getting a good tenant and one that will cost you weeks of time and money.
5.) Word-of-mouth – WOM (word-of-mouth) is a useless tool if one is in a big city or medium-sized community. But, if one is lucky enough to have a grasp on a college or university town, or a small town of 10,000 or so, WOM can mean everything. If one has a tenant that looks or acts interesting (in the negative sense), ask around town about the tenant(s). Ask people that went to school with them, ask other landlords, ask anyone, chances are you’ll find someone that knows the people but doesn’t have any personal ties to them.
Worthless tenants can give the business of investing in rental properties a negative name. One must do their part to make sure that these kinds of tenants don’t continually get into the rental system and destroy its worth.