How to Avoid a Dishonest Tenant

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Nowadays the concept of being an owner of rental property is quite popular for those who want to build wealth. When giving your habitation on rent you first think of the financial benefit. If someone else is living in your house and paying off a property for you then why not use this opportunity? Sounds well but before taking a decision think twice to whom you hand over your flat/house.

Becoming a landlord comes with a lot of responsibilities as it’s a business, which should be taken seriously. It’s dangerous to forget about the human factor. Just imagine that instead of receiving payments you have a problem with a tenant who is not paying for several months of rent. Or, your neighbours are complaining about his/her loud arguments, parties and uncontrolled kids, the contents of your property are damaged, broken or even stolen.  Even worse, he/she can deny the guilt and will never compensate for the material harm. Dishonest tenants can cost you a great deal of money. And eviction of such people will be long and lossmaking. That’s why getting the right tenant in the home will solve approximately 80% of your future problems. Forewarned is forearmed. You can easily avoid troublesome situations if you know how to find the right tenant. Check out the main points you should keep in mind while giving your house on rent.

Know Your Enemy: Don’t Let Dishonest Tenants In

Dishonest tenants will lie about the state of the housing when they moved in and when they moved out. They can also hide the real reasons for property damage in order not to pay fines.

At first, try to detect destructive people and screen them properly. Find the contact info of their previous landlords and get the answers to how they treated the premise. If a tenant hasn’t rented before a lack of a rental history isn’t bad if other areas are without a problem. Check up the blacklists on the Internet and social net groups. It will help you not to rent your house out to people who may destroy parts of your property and in the end, will not pay for the upkeep. Be sure to ask the previous landlords if there were any complaints about noisy behaviour.

Find out whether the future leaseholder is able to pay on time. If a certain person is late for payment, then you may have a problem on your hands. Ask a person to provide his/her credit history. Make sure he/she really has a job, and they are employed with the company they work for. To avoid misunderstanding make sure you let your candidates know that you will be checking their credit. Better inform about this in written form of call up by phone. The poor credit history of your potential leaseholder is a sign of money troubles. Be careful if a candidate can’t verify his/her current address. This could be a scam to hide a bad rental history or a person who didn’t pay the bills. Check the details about the tenant’s criminal history. Furthermore, professionally performed criminal history research will show if the person was previously accused of damaging somebody’s property. Take such steps in advance and prevent all kinds of problems that dishonest leaseholders might bring.

Prepare Proper Lease Agreement

A lease agreement is a legal document that binds the landlord and the tenant to a set of mutually agreed conditions. You want to make sure you can evict a tenant that’s causing a problem, or that you can take other action against a tenant who may be slow to pay rent or who may be creating other issues. Without a clear lease that doesn’t have loopholes, you could end up with a problem tenant for a lot longer than you would hope for. Good leases mean dishonest tenants are reluctant to sign, and that you have the upper hand if you do need to enforce something in the lease.

Notice Warning Signs Before and During the First Showing

As a landlord, you should always analyze the behaviour and psychological characteristics of your future residents. If a potential tenant doesn’t call or send you a message before the first showing that he/she is late, that is the sign that this person doesn’t value your time. That’s not the kind of person you want to have a long-term professional relationship with. If a candidate tries and gets you to lower the rent before he/she even see your apartment/house this is a warning sign that this person can’t really afford the property. Asking before the first showing means that the value of the house means little to such candidates, they only care about the price.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, but during the first showing, you have little choice in the matter. If being around a tenant makes you uncomfortable, it means that it will likely make other people uncomfortable too. Notice whether they haggle over bond and move-in costs. Bond should be returned if a rental is left in good condition. A tenant who haggles over a bond has no intention of leaving the rental in good condition or simply doesn’t have money. If they ask to pay the bond after they move in, probably they can’t afford to pay the bond before they move in, and you’ll never get it.

It is very useful to explain clearly that you have a rent-collecting method in case the tenant has cash flow problems or is temporarily unemployed. You should recognize that people sometimes struggle with bills. The good idea is to structure payment options and implement a policy of accepting a partial payment from a tenant once per year. Another good idea is to set a strict payment plan. Ensure that the tenant remains in compliance with the payment plan. You may also see how your potential resident will react to such an idea. Dishonest people who are able to betray your trust will never accept this idea as a good one. If future tenants have trouble proving their income and especially they can’t prove it in written form, they probably don’t earn it. Payslips and bank statements are the best kinds of proof. It’s always best to triple check their income over the phone with their employer as well.

As a landlord, you should additionally use psychological factors. For instance, you may interview the candidate at the first showing. The reason is not to sell a potential tenant on the unit. Rather, the main goal is to interview the candidate and learn why he/she is leaving their current home, and get to know what they expect from their new place of living. Request that tenants complete the application during the showing. Don’t give them the chance to create histories by allowing them to return the form later. Be suspicious if the candidates ask why they have to fill out a form. Either they don’t understand the process of renting (you can just explain general things about it to them) or they’re trying to hide something they think the application process will reveal.  If they’re still reluctant to give personal information you’re legally allowed to have, something is not clear.

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