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As a landlord, you take on the heavy responsibility of ensuring that you make the best decision in selecting who to rent to. You want to choose tenants who will adhere to the regulations under the lease agreement. General obligations of a tenant include paying rent on time, ensuring the property is well kept, and refraining from allowing others to reside in the area or subleasing without your permission, among others.

Determining if a tenant qualifies to rent is a decision that should not be made quickly. It’s extremely crucial that you are careful in the selection of a tenant as the wrong tenant can cause much frustration, place a financial burden on you, and potentially damage your reputation. While many landlords have resorted to the use of tenant verification services to spot a potentially bad tenant ahead of time, there are general warning signs that every landlord should be aware of, especially because tenants may try to convince you to believe that these situations are not as serious as they seem and shouldn’t affect their ability to rent.

  1. Unemployed but looking for a job: One of the biggest concerns a landlord has when deciding whether or not to rent to a tenant is if the tenant will pay their rent on time. If a potential renter informs you that they are unemployed, but looking for a job, it’s not promising that they are financially stable and able to pay their rent as well as the utility and water bills. Good tenants have a record of stable employment, even if they only work part-time.
  2. No referrals available: Referrals are a proven source of a reliable and trustworthy tenant. If the tenant cannot provide with you referrals, whether from a previous employer, coworker, friend or relative, there’s a reason no one is recommending that individual.
  3. Bad credit history: While a credit score doesn’t define the circumstances that lead to a tenant’s credit history, they should have a fairly stable credit history. By examining their credit report, you can learn of their financial status, including payment history and their job history. You should be wary of any reckless spending and repeated missed payments.
  4. Where they lived before: Although some may move frequently due to their job or family matters, if a tenant has moved around repeatedly for reasons undefined, it can signal that the tenant was previously kicked out or forced to leave for not abiding by the contract.
  5. They appear messy: Since tenants are paying for the space, they have the freedom to arrange items in the apartment where they’d like to. However, be cautious of tenants who appear overly messy or extremely disorganized. You don’t want to check on a tenant’s apartment only to find broken property appliances, plumbing issues or cracked ceilings or walls. ¬†While tenants must pay for damages, repairing items can be time-consuming, resulting in a loss of revenue with no renter in that space.

Additionally, remember that bad tenants may not only cause disturbance to you, but other renters. While you will understandably be concerned about a bad tenant, they may cause grievance and frustration to loyal renters. You should focus attention of finding applicants with a proven record of financial and social stability. Tenant verification services are available to help you in the process as well.

Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer who writes on topics catering to business and customer service. Follow her @MissWritey.