Tenant checks reveal some interesting and sometimes troubling facts about your prospective tenant.

Here are some top reasons to think twice about your rental candidate:

The candidate has not, or will not, provide the real name and number of the current or previous landlord. A tenant who is in the process of eviction will be in a rush to find a new home before the eviction shows up in his tenant check. It’s during that “grace” period that the soon-to-be evicted tenant will contact you to try to get a new place to live.

When you check tenant credit, the profile on the report should match the person who filed out the rental application, including the same age range, marital status and employment history. If the SSN provided doesn’t match the candidate’s profile, this is a serious red flag.

Watch out for a candidate who doesn’t complete items on the rental application, omitting important information like previous addresses or dates because the candidate “can’t remember.” That may be the case, but that’s still not a good sign!

Have all the candidate’s references met with unfortunate circumstances? The company closed, the boss got laid off, the previous landlord died, they have no next of kin. That’s a handy way of saying no one will vouch for their character.

When an applicant wants to pay in cash, it’s a telltale sign of a possible non-traceable business, a/k/a illegal occupation. This is particularly suspicious if they offer to pay you more rent than you’re asking for.

Someone who wants to pay the deposit in installments probably lacks the income to rent the property. It may also be a trick, because they are not planning to make those additional payments.

Avoid the candidate who asks that you not call the current landlord because they having given notice yet. They don’t want the two of you to have a conversation.

Dig deeper if the prospective tenant is not at all familiar with the area, and has no particular reason, like schools, work or other amenities, to choose your rental over any other.

The best defense to a bad rental applicant is to run a tenant check, and then cross-reference information in each of the reports. Soon, you may see a pattern that at the very least will lead you to ask more questions, or to reject this tenant before they have a chance to cost you any money.