But you can easily outsmart sneaky tenants by watching for the most common pattern:
The preferred strategy for many problem tenants is to sneak in using someone else’s lease. Sometimes that’s the plan all along. In other cases, the problem tenant moves in mid-lease. Either way, there’s an easy fix:
1. Always run tenant screening checks on all proposed occupants over 18 years old before you provide a lease. If one tenant is unacceptable, reconsider leasing to the others.
2. As additional protection, make sure your lease agreement has a strong guest policy. It should include a provision that holds tenants responsible for the actions of short-term guests, subject to eviction. There should also be a limit on how long a guest can stay before they are required to apply to be added to the lease. Demand the right to screen long-term guests before adding them on. Those who refuse to complete a rental application, or who don’t qualify for a lease must leave, or the tenant will be evicted.
3. Unless prohibited by law, limit a tenant’s right to sublet the property by reserving the right to approve any new occupants — in writing.
4. Check-in regularly with the tenant. You may be surprised to find that the person you rented to is long gone, and someone else has taken over the property. Don’t allow months to go by without a property inspection — it can make you a target for problem tenants.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.