One of the worst mistakes a property owner can make is taking in a renter who is a professional tenant. They might have a long history of lawsuits against them from other property owners or management companies—but they seem like an excellent potential renter during the screening process. After they move in, they cause a variety of problems and create emergencies that require your attention.
How can you build your real estate investment business if you're overwhelmed with lawsuits, renters who cause problems, and no cash flow from a lack of rental income? Here's how to spot professional tenants before they sign a lease and how a Port Charlotte property management company can help.
When "Good" Renters are Actually Bad
It's challenging to spot a professional tenant. Not only can they cause problems with other renters, but they might take you to court, skip rental payments, and cause nightmare scenarios.
A few examples of professional tenant behavior include:
- Causing a noise violation by turning their music up. They then blame others for the excessive noise. They also cause conflicts with neighbors that lead to harassment complaints and call the police.
- Bringing in family members and friends who abuse illegal substances. When confronted, they state that there's nothing in their lease about the specific items or state that they're medicinal (and have supporting documentation).
- Skipping rent payments and saying you harassed them when you send reminders. They might get the police involved and suggest that you discriminated against them based on their race, age, or disability.
Port Charlotte renters who instigate situations like these (and more) are often "professional" tenants. They go from rental home to rental home with the same type of behavior and then leave the property before they are forced to pay the rent or be evicted.
How to Spot a Professional Tenant
Because professional tenants prey on inexperienced property owners, it's critical to take caution with every potential renter and lease agreement. A few tell-tale signs can help you identify professional tenants when screening applicants.
An Applicants Might Try to Befriend You
It might start by asking personal questions to try to get to know you during the screening process. The information they put on the application indicates they might be a good new resident. However, a "professional" uses the interview process to get to know you and distract you from digging deeper into the application details.
It's is a red flag to take heed of now to avoid being taken advantage of in the future. When a renter like this tries to be a "friend," they might ask for discounts with the rent or give a hardship story so you can waive a late fee.
The best applicants and Port Charlotte renters are polite but won't try to take advantage of you. They'll pay on time, and it's reflected in their credit score, employment history, and references.
An Applicant Wants to Pay Cash Upfront
Your first few rental payments (if they show up) might also arrive as cash or money orders. A concern here is that the applicant may not have a full-time job or employer. Paying cash might also be a red flag that they are using the security deposit (or delinquent rent money) from their last rental to move into yours.
Cash isn't always a bad sign. However, make sure you can trust a renter—after conducting a thorough background check with a Port Charlotte property management company—before accepting cash as payment.
Applicants Offer Pre-paid Rent
When a potential renter offers to pre-pay six months (or a year) in advance, proceed with caution. The promise of prepaid rent could come with the request to skip the background screening process or to pick them over other applicants. While pre-paid rent isn't always a red flag, a qualified candidate has verifiable credit and employment to support paying several months ahead instead of every month.
Applicants With No References
If they don't have references, they might state that they've only lived with Port Charlotte relatives or friends in the past. You'll occasionally find brand new renters who don't have a prior rental history. However, every applicant should provide "real" references from professional or personal history to verify their reliability as a trustworthy future resident.
When an applicant states that they may have only lived with friends or family, they might try to hide a history of evictions. The screening process helps investors spot a fake social security number, review prior rental history, and determine if references are real or fake to identify potential renters to avoid.
Property managers help with more than just tenants. Find out more about what they do.
A Property Manager Gives Investors Confidence with Every Renter
The best way to ensure you take in the most qualified renters is with a careful screening process and a reputable Port Charlotte property management company! We have the resources to run credit checks, background checks, employment verification, and eviction checks to avoid professional renters. Y
With Gulf Coast Property Management, investors benefit from a thorough applicant screening process that leads us to the best renters and boosts your ROIs. When you're ready to experience the best local renters and real estate investment income, let's talk!
Learn what to look for in a property manager! Download our free resource, the "Guide to Finding the Best Property Manager in Sarasota & Manatee Counties."