Just Say NO to Slobs

I hear countless owners talk about how tenants have trashed their rental properties.  And I’ve had it happen to me as well.  So what do you do to prevent this from happening?

There are several things you can do BEFORE you allow these potential slobs into your rental properties.  I’ve talked about a few of them before on this blog but I thought this subject was worth devoting an entire piece to it.  I got burned several times early on … Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years:

  • What do they look like, physically?  Are they clean?  Have their clothes been washed or are they a filthy, wrinkled mess?
  • What about the car they drive?  Is it well maintained, inside and out?
  • Do they have children?  If so, are they clean, well-behaved?
  • Where do they live?  Drive by, first, and assess the outside.  Have they been attentive to it?
  • Plan a visit to that home where they live, if possible.  (You could stop by to pick up the application.)  Is it a mess inside?  Are there countless neighbors, friends, cousins, little kids running around?  If so, that’s a total red flag.
  • Are they living with relatives or friends?  If so, they may have been evicted recently.  Run a credit check on them.  (I use National Tenant Network.  For $20, you can run credit, criminal history, etc.  It’s an excellent resource.)
  • Does the applicant “bad mouth” the current landlord?  If so, you may be the next victim of that behavior.
  • Does the applicant have a bad attitude in general?  If so, you can deny tenancy based on that issue.

Renting to a slob who doesn’t take care of your rental will end up costing you a ton of money down the road.You can save yourself a lot of headaches by following these simple quidelines BEFORE you accept a tenant.

Don’t be in such a rush to fill that vacancy … attention to detail will save you — emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially.  It’s worth it to take your time when you look at prospective tenants.

Otherwise, you may learn the hard way … like I did!

Onward and upward!  🙂

Credit and Background Checks

I have quite a mix of tenants.  Some fall into the low-income category, others are in the middle or upper-middle category … so, is it worth doing credit and background checks on all of them when they apply?  Definitely not.

Many of my lower-end tenants have shaky credit or no credit.  Doing credit checks would be a waste of time and money.   And actually, no credit isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  Some have little or no debt, no credit cards, and buy things only when they have the cash.  My application is detailed, and I check on their current and past employment, the current living situation, references, and make a decision based on those items.

Now, for higher-end applicants, credit checks may help in the decision-making.  People who have a lot of debt and outstanding bills may struggle to pay the rent.  Third party companies like National Tenant Network are available to those who want to check criminal records, credit scores, past rental history, and even terrorist activity.  I’ve used them several times and it’s essential to have the person’s birth date, full name, SS number and current address.  Each full report costs about $20.

Within seconds, your report comes back.  Easy!  So if you need additional help in finding and keeping great tenants, use background checks as an additional tool to help you in the process.

Onward and upward …. 🙂