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Real Estate
How to Spot a Bad Tenant
January 9, 2021
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Every landlord has a tenant screening process. If you don’t have any yet, it’s high time that you should have one. No tenant will come to you and say, “I am a bad tenant.” You’ll have to identify the red flags by yourself and screen out the bad tenant applications. In this article, I’ll talk about how to spot a bad tenant so that you don’t face any trouble after renting your property. 

How to Spot a Bad Tenant

1.   Criminal Records

Nobody wants a criminal living on their property. You’ll have to do county-level criminal checks, including parking tickets, before renting your property. You may be wondering what type of criminal records you should put emphasis on. If you find out that the applicants had a domestic violence conviction, you shouldn’t rent your property to that applicant.

In terms of domestic violence conviction, if the victim lives with the person who has committed domestic violence, you should reject the application on the spot. Because there is a high chance that the same thing will happen again, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Again, don’t forget to check the frequency of criminal activities. If the applicants have more than 3 convictions in the last 4 to 5 years, excluding parking tickets, you should reject the applicants. Frequent convictions show that the applicant isn’t law-abiding and will do the same when you give your property for rent. However, don’t count speeding tickets or expired cases while checking the frequency of convictions.

2.   Moving Frequently

If you find out that the applicant is moving too often then it’s a red flag. For example, if the applicant has changed his/her house more than 2 times in the last 3 to 4 years in the same area, there is a good chance that the applicant is a problem-creating tenant. You should query the reasons behind it. Also, check the credit report of the previous address. At the end of the day, nobody wants a tenant who changes homes frequently. It’s a big loss and cause of headache for a landlord or property manager.

3.   Low Income

Monthly income tells you about the capability of the applicant. If the monthly income of the applicant is low, you’ll suffer financially sooner or later. You can take a larger deposit before renting, but it’s not a sustainable solution. You’ll have to select a tenant who earns at least 3 to 4 times the monthly rental. For example, if the monthly rental is around $2,000, the applicant’s monthly income should be around $6,000 or more.

4.   Bad Credit Score

A bad credit score is a big red flag. If the applicant has less than a 620 FICO credit score, you should reject the applicant. You may be wondering what is the relation between a credit score and renting your house. Credit score is more like a personal behavior score. If the credit score is bad, it indicates that the applicant has an entitlement mentality. Also, a bad credit score indicates risky habits. That’s why you should never rent your property to those who have a bad credit score.

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Richard Nevis

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