How I Was Almost Fooled by Evicted Tenants (& What I Learned)
The top thing in every landlord’s mind is to ensure that you don’t recruit a tenant who will only result in an eviction notice. After all, having a troubled tenant can lead to cash flow problems, which is obviously bad. On that same note, not only can this lead to financial distress, but it can be time consuming and energy draining—and having to force others to move out of your property ASAP is simply not something you want to be doing.
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Honestly, everything that I am about to say is true. I mean, sure, you see on the news channel, the internet and sometimes you hear from others these horrifying stories, but to experience one yourself is something else entirely. It was truly mind blowing to witness firsthand how much lie-weaving people were willing to do in order to trap some unwitting landlord to rent them the property. Want to hear the story? Well, here we go.
They Looked Like Great Candidates
One day, the mother of a family called to give a walkthrough of property. I always make sure to do pre-vetting over phone to make sure they fit the qualifications, i.e. the applicant has to produce 3x net monthly income in addition to good rental history, verification of time on their job, and also good landlord references. In my case, I thought I hit the jackpot—after all, it was a beautiful family with a stay at home mother, hard working father, grandmother, and newborn daughter. Why, you couldn’t possibly ask for better tenants!
The family took a walkthrough of the house and absolutely loved it (as they should because that home was truly lovely). As a result, they decided that they wanted to move forward and discuss terms and legalities. But here is where things start to get really interesting.
On their application, they had their current residence, in addition to the contact information for their present landlord. So, as per routine, I ran the application through, and after some brief investigation, I discovered that they were being evicted from their current residence. However, when I contacted the family, they waved away my concerns and said that it was simply a glitch, assuring me that the landlord could verify (red flag alert!). I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, so I called the landlord (who I later found out was a family member posing as a landlord).
Don’t Take All References at Face Value
The landlord a.k.a. family member mentioned that they were good tenants, and if given the chance, they would absolutely love to rent to them again. Obviously, I couldn’t take a mere word for something as serious as an eviction, so what I did from there was pull the public tax records out—which in turn showed the name of the actual landlord along with his true address.
It doesn’t take much guesswork to know what I did next. I whizzed over there, and the (genuine) landlord mentioned that the family that he had as tenants were in fact being evicted and looking to get my place ASAP in fear that they would be without a home. The moment I heard this, I went ahead and approved the tenants out of generosity.
In a dream world, that last statement would have been the case, but in actuality I declined them.
Honestly, the whole situation was mentally straining, and I just wanted to point out that these things happen in real life and not just in stories you hear from other people, so the moral of this story is that tenants do lie, so you should always do thorough due diligence.
[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]
Investors: Let me know—what’s YOUR worst tenant story?
Leave your comments below!