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How To Get Rid of Crazy Tenants

2 min read
Jason Hanson

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Calvert Woodley Apartment Building
Image by Mr. T in DC via Flickr

Do you know why most landlords think the rental property business is tough? Do you know why I and other investors make so much money off of these “tired landlords”?

It comes down to one thing: They don’t know how to properly screen tenants. And today I’m going to show you how to screen out “the crazy ones”.

First off, crazy people don’t know they’re crazy. Let me explain: If I’m going to go out on a date with a girl I always talk to her on the phone first. And I screen her just as if I was screening a tenant or a motivated seller.

One of the questions that I ask the girl is “If I were to talk to any of your ex-boyfriend’s would they have any stories to tell me about you slashing their tires, keying their car or leaving them 70 voicemails”.

And you’d be surprised at the answers I get. A lot of women will be like “yeah, this one time my boyfriend cheated on me so I went and keyed his car. Or, this one time this guy broke up with me because he said I was too clingy so I filled up his voicemail box for a week straight”.

You see, the crazy woman thinks that all women key cars under certain circumstances, or that all women leave a lot of voicemails when their hearts get broken—once again, crazy people don’t know they’re crazy, so just ask them simple questions and they will “convict themselves”.

A Crazy, Police-Calling Tenant

Let me tell you how this relates to my latest rental property: I was screening a potential tenant and one of my questions is “How did you get along with your previous landlord, were there any problems”.

And immediately this woman went into a 15 minute long tirade. About how she hated her landlord and had threatened to call the police on her landlord several times. So of course, I asked this woman why she was going to call the police on her landlord.

She said the reason was because the landlord wanted to come in and make some repairs to the house and the landlord had called her while she was sleeping (during the day). And that she couldn’t believe the landlord would call and wake her up and she told the landlord if she dared to come over to the house she would call the police immediately.

This crazy woman went on and on and of course I just sat there and listed and let her “crucify herself”.

Obviously, any tenant who is going to easily threaten to call the police at the drop of a hat is not someone you want in your property. Also, I could tell this woman was high maintenance which is another thing you don’t want (high maintenance women and high maintenance tenants are a big no-no).

Do You Have Tenant Screening Questions?

So every time that you are screening a tenant you should have a pre-determined list of questions that you ask every single one of them. Once you’ve been in this business long enough you’ll be able to quickly determine who’ll be awesome tenants and who will be nightmare tenants.

Also, of course you will verify everything by checking paystubs, savings and checking accounts and references. And whatever you do, don’t make the same mistake I made early on, when I wanted a tenant so badly I just let anyone in my property. You only have to do that once before you vow to never make the same mistake again.