13 Prospective Tenant Red Flags

tenantriskverification May 18, 2012 0

Raise your hand if you’ve had a tenant show up, with a rental truck, on a Friday afternoon to see your property. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? It happens all the time and you should be very concerned if someone is desperate to move-in right away.

If you watch the news or read the paper, you know the substantial increases in foreclosures and short sells, due to the housing market crisis, have caused many former owners to now become renters. This shift in behavior is challenging for both renters and owners.

You may find a well established empty-nester couple walking through your rental property asking about the neighborhood, local golf courses, shopping and even access to the airport. Many former home owners with an established credit file, including a home loan, a car loan or two and possibly several credit cards,often have a story about why their credit file shows delinquencies reported from a mortgage company or credit card company. Checking their credit will verify if they are paying most of their bills but may have stopped paying their home mortgage and may have been late on their credit cards because their variable rate mortgage adjusted and they weren’t prepared for it or the fix and flip property they purchased wasn’t finished in time to flip.

Don’t panic just yet! The days of renters with great credit are few and far between for now. Landlords and property managers have been forced to reevaluate the standards by which they accept and reject tenants. Finding great tenants is actually still very possible because the rental market is flooded with people who need need housing. You just may need to relax your credit expectations.

When I asked Investigative Screening and Consulting they highly recommend looking for criminal convictions, rental evictions and credit. Be prepared to only receive a pass or fail return on a specific credit range because the new FCRA standards do not allow independent rental owners to simply obtain a full credit report. However, if you can obtain a credit score range plus a nationwide criminal and eviction search you will feel pretty confident about the people occupying your rental. Be sure to require 2 past landlords because a current landlord may want a tenant to move the but the previous landlord is likely to be honest about their tenancy.

Investigative Screening and Consulting has developed 13 potential tenant red flags you should watch for when renting to anyone. There’s also a great video to explain the process of doing your own tenant screening before allowing them to complete an application.

1. The person who needs to move right now. The truck is outside and they want to move-in today.

2. The person who’s living with a friend or relative. Ask for copy of utility bill to prove the address. If not, chances are pretty good they’re not living there and you’re not getting the full story.

3. They leave blanks on the application. There should be no blanks on the application. Indicates they’re unwilling to provide information. Allowing blanks for one tenant and not another is a Fair Housing violation.

4. Tenant who agrees with everything the landlord says. Maybe they seem too eager and it causes you to wonder why?

5. Tries to impress you with expensive personal affects like a watch, clothing or jewelry. They don’t need to impress you with material items but rather with a clean criminal background, no evictions and a good rental reference from their last landlord.

6. Willing to take anything you have available. Everyone has particular living space they want, so why are they so eager to take yours?

7. Find ways to show you they’re a “nice person”. Initiating conversation about you. Commenting about your car or photos of your children or grandchildren.

8. When a person is telling the truth they are easily able to answer simple questions about their job, current living situation and reason for moving. If they stumble over their own words or give a partial explanation you should be concerned.

9. If they ask about criminal records and eviction (and not just credit), they probably have a record they don’t want you to see.

10.   They need to show you their state issued identification or driver’s license. If you don’t know what these documents look like, visit the state government website.

11.  Criminal records on an tenant are a huge red flag. They may tell you they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Check the investigate screening report before making your decision.

12. Watch for fake IDs, passport or driver’s license. If you don’t know what a real one looks like, check the internet.

13. Take a look at all of the pieces of information and if something doesn’t “add up”, review the materials, ask the private investigator if you used ARPOLA’s investigative tenant screening or don’t rent to them.

Its your property and as long as you follow the local landlord/tenant laws and fair housing laws you can decide to accept or reject tenants based on pre-established criteria. Be sure to watch the accompanying video that explains the details of how to look for suspicious behavior. Good luck and remember to screen EVERY applicant!

Source : arpola

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