Five Red Flags in Rental Applications That Landlords Must Notice

By 31st December 2014Blog

Screening rental applicants is an important step that landlords must follow to run their property management business successfully. Careful tenant screening can save you lots of complications and stress down the road. Discovering a rental applicant is deceiving you is much better than learning it after the lease agreement has been signed. This is why it is better to look for some red flags when screening your rental applicants for rental properties.

Here are five red flags that landlords should look for when screening rental applicants to avoid trouble.

Absence of current address

If an applicant fails to verify his address with a utility bill or any identification documentation, then it’s a big red flag. Applicants provide such deceptive information when they are currently in the eviction process with their current landlord and don’t want you to get in touch with them. Even though this isn’t the case every time, if you figure out this red flag, it’s wise to have a closer look.

Entire payment in cash

If a rental applicant flashes plenty of cash and shows willingness to make entire rent payment in cash instead of any other option, it could be a red flag. Although it’s not true in all cases, individuals who deal in cash and fails to provide a bank account may have something to hide. Most probably these people tend to work under table and can’t verify their income or they might be avoiding garnishments from another entity. In worst cases, these applicants might be engaged in a criminal activity. So if any rental applicants express wish to make entire rent payment in cash, be wary.

Absence of photo ID

Professional individuals, or those who have knowledge of how to scam the system, often engage in identity theft to get into a rental apartment. These applicants use some other person’s name and good credit to secure the rental. May be their friend or relative has given them permission to scam you. One of the easiest ways to discover this kind of scam is to ask for photo ID and verify applicants are indeed who they say they are.

Mistakes on the rental application

If you come across unreasonable amount of mistakes when performing background check of a prospective tenant, you can consider it as a red flag. Whether its mistakes on addresses, phone numbers, wrong dates for employment, or rentals, it could mean that the applicant is trying to hide something. When you encounter too many mistakes on a single rental application, it’s wise to become alert and perform thorough background check of the applicant before renting out your property to him.

Pushy applicants

A rental applicant, who is worried that you will discover something negative in his application, will push you to make a decision quickly or give some sort of emergency reason as to why he needs to move in your property right away. Pushy applicants show that they don’t respect your time and rules. They tend to be in a great hurry to move in. On the other hand, a knowledgeable and experienced rental applicant knows that a good background check takes time and he waits for the proper process and never pushes landlord to make a decision.

If you encounter any of these five red flags, you should make a move to catch dishonest rental applicants before they become your tenants. Failure to perform proper tenant screening can result in significant loss of income due to delayed or unpaid rent, property damages, legal issues, and stress and headache for an eviction process. So don’t allow a fraudulent tenant to trick you, by looking for these red flags. Be through in your screening process and weed out all bad tenants up front.