Tenant Warning Signs
We often talk about the importance of checking references and properly screening tenants. The following is a list of warning signs from the early stages of tenant background checks
1. "Will you be conducting a credit check? What about a criminal check?"
If a tenant asks the above questions, warning bells should go off in a landlord's head. Although young people especially students may not have a long credit background, an adult should. The question may imply there is somehting in their credit history that they do not want you to see. The criminal check question needs no further explanation!
2. References from only family or friends
References should come from someone that is impartial. A family member or a friend is very unlikely to provide an honest portrayal of the potential tenant's background and character. Beware people that do not provide any names of folks that can give an impartial account such as supervisors, teachers, past landlords, etc ....
3. "Please dont call my landlord because ....."
The response from this statement should be "WHY NOT!". It may imply they are hiding somehting very important. A past landlord is likely the most important person a landlord can speak to regarding the suitability of a candidate. Did they pay the rent and pay it on time? Were they disruptive and difficult to deal with? Did they keep the property clean and in good shape? These are critial questions that must be answered. Do not rent to anyone without these questions being answered.
4. Self Employed
If a candidate is self-employed the risk to the owner increases several fold. Self-employed candidates that do not provide any information about the health of their business should be avoided. A succesful self employed individual should have no issues either sharing their tax return information or documentation related to the health of their business. The mantra should be no proof? No apartment.
5. "I broke my lease"
If a candidate admits to haveing broken a rental lease in the past then they have no qualms about doing it again. Unless they can prove that they broke the lease due to unsafe, unhygenic or an uninhabitable situation, do not rent to them. You run the risk of him or her running away from your lease, leaving you with an empty apartment, a potential Regie du Logement case (which everyone wants to avoid) and a financial mess on your hands. Unreasonable people that run away from contractual obligations have no place in your rental property.
Remember it is better to be safe than sorry. Check up on all claims and statements a potential tenant makes. These folks are after all, strangers that you have only very recently met.