Tenant Application Red Flags
When you check potential tenants you are going to need to check their credit and crime histories, income, and talk to their previous landlords. As you progress through the process, you should pay attention to any red flags that grab your attention. Renters may have a reasonable explanation for all these problems, but you have to trust data and facts.
Information Provided Does Not Match.
The information in the lease application comes from the applicant and it means that the information can be anything the candidate chooses to provide and may not always be correct. For this reason, you should always check the information in the rental application. A good way to verify the information is to make sure it matches the information on tenant verification reports. If you found any differences between a lease application and inspection reports, those are the red flags that are worth investigating.
Always make sure:
1. Run tenant verification reports.
2. Compare these reports with your application.
Sketchy Landlord References.
Talking to current and former landlords is a great way to get an idea of how the tenant has behaved in the past. These people will be able to tell you if the rent was paid on time if there was any property damage and when the tenant doesn't want you to talk to the landlords, it's a big red flag. Another reason you will not be able to contact the applicant's previous landlord is that the applicant tried to give you the phone number of a friend instead of the landlord and you must assume that they are trying to hide something. The applicant could have paid the rent every month late, vandalized the apartment, terminated the lease early, or even be evicted.
Has Many Past Evictions.
Make sure to check eviction records to ensure that your potential tenant has never been evicted from the property due to non-payment or other breaches of the lease. For landlords, eviction is almost always a last resort and if their rental history shows that they have reached this point recently, you may want to reconsider renting to them. But the bigger problem here is why the applicant moved around so much and many people may have a good reason, like:
1. Work-related travel.
2. Taking care of a family member.
Or it could be due to:
1. Was evicted.
2. Inability to pay rent.
3. Problems with people in the community.
Income Can't be Verified.
Showing income shouldn't be a problem for qualified tenants and you want to make sure your tenants can afford the rent before you approve their application. That's why you should always ask how much do they make and also ask for supporting documentation, like a recent payslip. In some cases, you may find that candidates refuse to submit this documentation and that's another huge red flag. If you want additional information you should contact the employer and request information on wages and if they are retired or self-employed, you can request tax returns or bank statements. If someone is unable to prove income on your rental application, they may be lying about it or maybe they earn much less than they say. Another thing, they may receive and not show income as it comes from illegal activities or they are trying to avoid paying taxes. In any case, you should think twice before renting out to someone who is already cheating.
They Are in a Rush.
There is a big difference between an enthusiastic candidate and a desperate candidate and the person who is anxious and forces you to make a decision before you complete the rental application review process is another red flag. There may be a case that the applicant is hiding something and by rushing through the process he or she may hope that you are neglecting contact with the previous landlord. Another case where the applicant may be in the process of being evicted from the current place and wants to move faster before the eviction becomes public.
These are just a few of the red flags that can appear during your tenant verification process. If you need help finding a good tenant or have questions about property management in Kansas City, we would like to be your resource.
Need more information?
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