An Easy Way to Spot a Bad Tenant

Predicting whether a rental applicant will make a good tenant relies on what they’ve done in the past. One of the best ways to flag a problem tenant is to see where they’ve been — with the Previous Address Tenant History report.

If a tenant has burned other landlords, chances are they’ll leave that information off the rental application. That way, the new landlord won’t ask to speak to the old landlord, and this tenant’s secret past remains safe.

The Previous Address Tenant History, or PATH report, is an inexpensive option that reveals each address that is associated with the applicant’s Social Security number. It also lists the date ranges at each address.

A landlord can compare the PATH to the rental application and instantly discover if an applicant is lying — before the landlord hands over the keys to a problem tenant.

An additional benefit of the PATH report is eliminating shared names from a criminal report, which are not cross-referenced to Social Security numbers. It will also show if the prospect lived outside the area so the landlord can broaden the criminal history and eviction searches.

The PATH is a good tool to determine if the Social Security number provided by the applicant is fraudulent.

Landlords should demand completed rental applications and order tenant background checks for all of the adults who will be sharing the rental.

With AAOA, landlords have resources at their fingertips. Check out our new Landlord Forms Page.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at