Almost every landlord eventually deals with at least one bad tenant who, for example, failed to pay rent, damaged property or disrupted their neighbors’ lives. To reduce your chance of facing bad tenant scenarios, follow these tips:

Run Background Checks on Everyone

Knowing more about people who you plan to rent to can prevent a lot of future headaches. Find out as much as possible about an applicant and anyone else that plans to live with the applicant through a tenant screening service. At minimum, use a professional verification service to perform criminal and credit checks and interview previous landlords.

Look Deeper Into All References

Many applicants choose people who they know give glowing referrals whether they deserve those referrals or not. Always check if references are people whose opinions you can trust. A tenant screening service can perform the investigation and give you a heads up about anything that might suggest that a reference is lying to you.

Review Their Entire Work History

An applicant must be able to afford to spend up to possibly one-third of their income monthly for rent and have a history of stable employment. Additionally, it’s important to pass on applicants whose jobs might cause disruptive behavior, such as nightclub workers, band members and big rig drivers who are more likely to cause noise at night.

Ignore the Fast Cash Offer

A tenant who tries to convince you to speed up any of the above processes by offering you cash during the property walk-through might be trying to trick you. Some tenants who have been evicted from previous rentals, asked to relocate or caused property damage use upfront cash as a distraction.

Never Lie to Applicants About Anything

It isn’t okay to lie when describing your rental property’s comfort, safety or convenience. Some landlords fail to disclose health and safety details, such as poor soundproofing or a musty basement. Exaggeration and/or nondisclosure can actually create a bad tenant. For example, a renter might lose so much sleep from an undisclosed noise problem that they make work mistakes that cost them the income that they need to make rental payments. Keep in mind that this type of scenario doesn’t make the tenant bad. It makes you a bad landlord.

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