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5 Biggest Tenant Red Flags Every Property Owner Should Know

Alexandra Goldthwaite - Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Property Management Blog

Bad tenants - they're every rental property owner's worst nightmare. Hard to get rent from, tough to dislodge, and the state of the property doesn't bear thinking about...

The key is to recognize bad tenant warning signs - and avoid them! Some prospective tenant red flags are obvious, but some are more subtle. 

Don't worry, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes. Just read on for our guide to the 5 biggest tenant red flags every property owner should know.

1. Bad Credit

It may sound harsh, but bad credit is a serious red flag when screening tenants. Having a low credit score means that the prospective tenant has a poor record of making payments on time.

This means that they are a high-risk proposition. A person with a bad credit score is more likely to fail to pay their rent on time, if at all.

2. Criminal Record

Tenant screening will show up whether a prospective tenant has a criminal record. Of course, not all criminal records are the same. It might be something relatively minor from the dim and distant past.

However, does their record show that they have a serious issue with following the rules? Does it indicate that they are violent? These are serious tenant red flags that indicate this person may find it hard to stick to the rental agreement.

3. Paying in Cash

This might sound great - a tenant willing to pay upfront! And it might be, as some people may have a good reason for wanting to pay this way.

However, there is also a chance that this may be a form of money laundering. In this case, it's good to be cautious. Do your homework and ask for evidence of where the money came from.

It's also good to check with local property management experts regarding any legal requirements that are in place.

4. Rental Application Not Complete

A serious tenant will dot the i's and cross the t's. They will treat a rental application like a job application. They know that one that is sloppily filled out will go to the bottom of the pile.

There could be a deliberate reason why they have not filled out the form completely. They could be trying to conceal information from you.

5. Low or No Income

This is one of the most serious tenant red flags. Promises of income are not enough. You need to see evidence that they can follow through and pay the rent.

You have the right to turn down unqualified tenants - this is part of your property owner rights. However, it's good to seek professional advice, as you do need to follow fair housing laws when screening tenants.

Let the Pros Detect the Tenant Red Flags

These warning signs of bad tenants can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to being a landlord. Experienced property managers are involved in tenant screening on a daily basis. They see the tenant red flags coming a mile away.

If you're a landlord, talk to our Sacramento property management experts. They can help you through the tenant screening process to find the perfect tenants for your rental. They can also take care of all aspects of property management, giving you complete peace of mind.

Contact us today to learn more about the services we can provide for you.