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Nightmare Tenant: The Pattern Scammer

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Long-term rental property investing requires managing tenants, and I recently read an article that focused in on the activities of one scamming tenant in particular.  Apparently this person follows a specific pattern of behavior that has resulted in her being evicted 3 times.  Basically, the tenant is very good at fabricating excuses to postpone the inevitable eviction hearing while concurrently living rent-free.  The tenant is aware of the landlord-tenant laws in her state, and uses that knowledge to scam unsuspecting landlords.

Here is the pattern:

  1. Soon after moving in to a new apartment, she starts to moan about the financial hardships of being a single mom.  Soon thereafter, she would ask to pay the monthly rent in installments. 
  2. Eventually she would begin to whine about the safety conditions on the property, to the point of even bringing in inspectors and utility personnel.  This benefits the tenant because claiming that the property is unfit provides a legal justification for her to withhold paying the rent. 
  3. Once the inspectors inevitably discredit her claims, she then would employ delay tactics to postpone the eviction.

The common thread between all 3 occurrences is that the tenant charmed the landlords to the point where they showed leniency in terms of the screening process.  Specifically, none of the 3 landlords bothered to do a background check, which prevented them from knowing that this person had been previously evicted.  Even a simple Google search would have revealed the tenant’s unsavory history.

So the moral of this story is quite simple.  You cannot judge a book by its cover, and this same principle applies when it comes to the landlord-tenant relationship.  Managing rental property requires careful screening.  When you are trying to rent out a unit, always look at prospective tenants with a skeptical eye, and make sure your “BS Radar” is on high alert.  Always do a full tenant background check, including a credit check and criminal background check.  This is the only way to be sure that you are not allowing a deadbeat to move in.

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