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by AAOA Staff
With vacancies high, you may not get the chance to sift through a pile of qualified applicants to pick the cherry tenant.   That makes it even more important to spot the ones who are more likely to cause damage or leave you with unpaid rent to collect.
While there is no sure-fire formula for predicting who will become a deadbeat tenant, hindsight from other landlords and property managers who’ve been burned can offer some great lessons.
If you see some of these traits in your applicants, you may want to dig deeper before you hand over those keys:
  • Tries to entice you by offering to pay cash
  • Starts to negotiate before you show them the unit
  • Wants to pay the deposit in installments
  • Asks you not to call the current landlord because they haven’t given notice yet
  • Tries to flatter you or fast-talk about how perfect they are before you ask
  • Can pay you “just as soon as” tax rebate, new box of checks, settle insurance claim, next payday…
  • Hasn’t been at any one job for at least a year
  • Wants to barter repairs or other services for rent
  • “Forgets” to fill out a couple things on the application, can’t remember past addresses, reference phone numbers, etc.
  • Addresses on application, drivers’ license or car registration don’t match, or are not the current address given
You should also watch for signs that this applicant is just not that into your rental:
Be leery of the applicant who is not familiar with the neighborhood and doesn’t have friends, family, a job or classes nearby, or someone who doesn’t really seem to be paying attention during the tour.  These candidates may be more likely to leave you in the dust.
Never rent to an applicant before you have completed a thorough background check. Not only will that help eliminate deadbeats, but the information will come in handy if you have to go to collection.

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