Bad tenants are a problem that no landlord ever wants to have to deal with. They can be extremely frustrating, time consuming, expensive to deal with, and go a long way in ruining the experience of even the most seasoned landlords. The best way to avoid renting to a bad tenant is by being proactive and properly screening each and every one of your applicants, doing your due diligence to look into credit history, rental history, income, and references.
It’s important to know that some dishonest applicants will try to sneak things past you during the screening process. In order to avoid a bad tenant, here’s how you can identify these common tenant scams and be better able to avoid falling for them.
Falsified rental histories
One of the most common scams reported by landlords and Toronto property management companies is applicants falsifying their rental histories. These histories are extremely valuable to landlords, as it allows them to see where tenants have been, how long they stayed, and says a lot about whether or not they paid rent on time.
Applicants with a bad rental history will often attempt to cover this up by supplying fake names and contact information for these rentals, making it impossible for a landlord to verify the accuracy of their stated history. Others will say that they’ve been travelling for extended periods of time or staying with family, and don’t have a recent rental history to supply. If you suspect that anything might be amiss with an applicant’s rental history, it’s best to ask them about it and seek answers as best as you can – failure to do so can result in renting to a bad tenant. Bottom line, if you can’t reach their past landlord(s), don’t rent to them.
Inflating their income or lying about employment
Another damaging scam is lying about employment or inflating their income, and thus appearing more able to pay rent than they actually might be. Landlords who properly screen tenants know the importance of applicants having active employment, and the ability to consistently pay rent in full.
Some bad tenants will lie about being employed, going as far as supplying contact information for a fake reference in order to fool you into thinking that the applicant is gainfully employed. Other commonly used scams include using income from a month where the applicant received a bonus, or even going as far as forging tax documents to show a higher income than what they actually learned. Avoid this scam by researching the employer and any references supplied to you by applicants, and insisting that you be able to run a credit check on them to ensure accuracy. Searching for them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be also be useful to corroborate their employment.
Not being honest about who will be occupying the property
It’s important for landlords to understand who is going to be occupying their property in order to properly screen applicants and know who they’ll be interfacing with. It’s common for bad tenants to lie about who will be occupying the property on the application, either by applying on behalf of somebody with bad credit or no employment, or by lying about the amount of adults who will be occupying the residence.
This scam means that many landlords don’t actually know who they’re renting to until the paperwork has been signed and submitted, greatly increasing the chances of being saddled with a bad tenant. Do your due diligence and ask that applicants accurately state who will be living at the property, and how many adults will be residing there. It may also be a good idea to review the policies regarding additional and unauthorized occupants in your rental agreement.
Effectively screening tenants is the best measure to avoid bad tenants and common scams they bring with them. Highgate Properties is a Toronto property management company with years of experience in properly screening tenants, dealing with bad tenants, and managing the day-to-day duties of landlords, freeing you up to deal with the more important things in your life. For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.