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When Screening Tenants, Look Out For These 5 Red Flags

It is always important to screen your tenants thoroughly before entering into a lease agreement. Though no process is completely foolproof – conducting a criminal background check, thorough credit check, and a reference check can mitigate some of the risks of being a landlord. When screening potential tenants, here are the top 5 red flags to look out for to help make your landlord-tenant experience a positive one:

1.) Pay close attention to dates regarding eviction history.

Evictions that took place in the last 5-10 years are crucial to note. Anything more than that, followed by a decade of good rental history, is not a concern. So, if you see a recent eviction listed, it calls for further explanation, as well as some hesitation. Though not always a precursor to rent payment issues, it very well could be.

2.) A credit report that reveals excessive, unpaid debts.

It is crucial to document your tenant’s credit score and history – especially if they owe money towards housing costs. Remember, if a tenant is having trouble paying their current bills, there is a high probability they will have difficulty paying rent. Do note that you may view various types of debts differently (for example, medical bills paid on time vs. credit card bills that have been left unpaid).

3.) Landlord references that don’t pan out.

Perhaps the tenant provided you with landlord references that simply don’t add up: when you call, they are unsure of the tenant or property you are referring to, or maybe you cannot even get in touch. You may even reach a “landlord” only to find out it’s the tenant’s brother or cousin. If there is no landlord reference or reputable character reference listed on your tenant’s application, you may want to seek another tenant.

4.) You cannot verify the tenant’s employment status or income.

Suppose you cannot verify a tenant’s employment status and income with their listed employer, and their work history/background check information doesn’t seem to align. In that case, the potential tenant is likely unemployed. Remember, professional tenants out there fill applications with erroneous information, and the inability to prove employment is usually a sure-fire way to tell.

5.) The tenant is unable to provide a security deposit.

Security deposits are essential to ensure that you have some money on hand to tend to repairs that need to be made should the tenants fail to tend to your rental home. When a tenant cannot provide a security deposit, they may not be able to pay rent either.

As a locally owned and operated Property Management Company here in Waco, TX, we help our landlords thoroughly screen their tenants while providing them with the comprehensive services they need. From property marketing, rent collection, maintenance services, and all that’s in between – our goal is to ensure your investment continues to grow.

Contact us today to learn more: 254-651-0576. We look forward to hearing from you!

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