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Watch Out for These 3 Prospective Tenant Red Flags

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As you know, finding good tenants can be a tedious and lengthy process.  What makes it so tiresome is the fact that 90% of the people you will interact with who want to rent one of your units will be pure garbage.  And I am not as picky as I once was, so 90% is probably on the low end for many landlords.

Yes finding quality tenants for your vacant investment property is sometimes akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.  However, if you know what to avoid, you can greatly streamline the process and minimize mistakes.  There are a few key things that should make any landlord run the other way as fast as possible.

First and foremost, never select a tenant who has been previously evicted.  Although most evictees will lie about this on the rental application, if you join a tenant verification network and verify past tenancies, you can usually find out if there is an eviction history.  If someone does this once, there is a good chance that he/she will do it again sooner or later.

Another deal breaker is a prior bankruptcy filing.  Although not always the case, many people who declare bankruptcy are irresponsible, incompetent, or both.  A successful bankruptcy filing can also reinforce “deadbeat” behavior, thereby empowering shady people to try and avoid their debts again in the future.

Another red flag is a lack of supporting documentation.  For example, if a tenant does not have a bank account, or can’t produce previous utility bills or pay statements, or fails to provide a picture ID, be very wary.  These are items that every responsible adult has, and people without these items are likely poor candidates or are trying to hide something (or both).

To sum it up, avoid potential tenants who have been previously evicted, who have declared bankruptcy, or who cannot provide the basic credentials that all responsible and qualified adults must have.  Use these 3 factors as your initial filter, and you should be able to weed out the vast majority of garbage tenants right out of the gate.  Good luck!

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