Landlords Are Targets of Tenant Tricks

tenantriskverification December 12, 2012 1

by John Nuzzolese,

I have fallen for more tenant tricks than I care to admit to! I guess if it is the first time it is used on you, it might be more difficult to recognize as a trick or a con. The important thing is that you don’t fall for the same ploys repeatedly.

Most of the sneaky little tricks listed below can easily be thwarted with proper tenant screening and a little landlord tenant knowledge.

  1. The Old “Fake Credit Report” Trick:
    With today’s computer technology, it is quite easy for a tenant to fake a credit report. Anyone can get a free copy of their own credit report online and make a few “modifications” on it before printing it out and presenting it to an innocent, unsuspecting and impressed landlord.
  2. The Old “Totally Fake Identity” Trick with great credit report:
    Fake IDs are sold to under aged kids who want to get into bars all over the country. It is easy enough for a con-man tenant to get a fake ID to match his friend’s or relative’s credit report and present him/herself as that person. It is a good idea to check IDs carefully and verify as much information in that person’s name as possible.
  3. The Old “I’m a victim of Identity Theft” Trick:
    A popular excuse for a bad credit report. Blame it on identity theft!
  4. The Old “My spouse ruined my Credit” Trick:
    A popular excuse for divorced deadbeats. Blame it on the Ex!
  5. The Old “Fake social security #” Trick:
    Many fraudster rental applicants present fake social security numbers on their rental application. Often it is their child’s or a made up number that brings incorrect or no results. When asked for an explanation, they may pretend they don’t understand why this happened.
  6. The Old “Self Employed with fake income records” Trick:
    Self employed tenants are among the most difficult references to verify. Why, because as their own boss, the tenant prospect is giving you his own references on himself. Is it possible he might exaggerate his success and income and create corresponding exaggerated reference material? You bet it is!
  7. The Old “Threaten the Landlord with a Discrimination Suit” Trick:
    A common tactic of a disgruntled rental reject. This trick works on many scared inexperienced landlords.
  8. The Old “Move In FREE” Trick:
    The tenant shops rentals with desperate landlords who offer a free first month and no security deposit. They live free until they get tired of stringing the poor sucker along.
  9. The Old “This place needs work” Trick:
    One of the oldest negotiating tactics in the book is to insult the product (or rental property in this case) with depreciating comments and requests for repairs and/or improvements to be done. An eager landlord is often side-tracked from the screening process by these decoy tactics.
  10. The Old “Fake Injury Threatening Lawsuit” Trick:
    Some tenants, usually when they hit hard times, will pretend to get hurt on the property and blame it on the landlord’s negligence. They first call and ask about the landlord’s insurance coverage. Then, while cleverly hinting they might sue you, they may ask for free or reduced rent for a while because they have medical expenses. Then they find an opportunistic attorney to help them commit insurance fraud by suing you for a settlement.
  11. The Old “My Bank Made a Mistake” Trick:
    To avoid a late charge or even just embarrassment, tenant may lie to you by blaming the reason for their bounced check on the bank.
  12. The Old “I’m out of Town” Trick:
    A common excuse why the tenant was not able to pay the rent on time. Of course, being out of town on business all the time can make it impossible to mail the rent. What about mailing it early? What about automatic withdrawal? These things would solve the problem and would be used if the tenant was sincere… One tenant tried this on me when caller ID was a brand new feature. He said he was calling from out of state, but I saw his home phone number on the ID!
  13. The Old “Please Don’t Call or Tell my Wife I’m Late with the Rent” Trick:
    An attempt to get the landlord in on the conspiracy to save the marriage of the tenant. A big load of BULL.
  14. The Old “You’re a great guy” Trick:
    Another big load of BULL. Sometimes the tenant will give you small gifts to demonstrate his goodwill while he bilks you for months worth of rent. The idea is to make you feel good while you get screwed. I had a tenant who delivered a pizza to my house. (We didn’t eat it. I was afraid it might be poisoned because I was evicting him.)

This article was written by John Nuzzolese,   and originally published on


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