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7 Ways to Avoid High-Risk Tenants

Rita just started her apartment business right after the building was constructed. She advertised and a lot of potential tenants applied. The tenants moved in and settled fast. Rita didn’t do any maintenance tasks and neglected the legalities of landlording.

She expected her tenants to be responsible and professional enough to take care of the rented property and treat her fair. However, she noticed that after a week, that expectation began to betray her. She spotted some damages and had to deal with late payments. 

Rita’s dream became a nightmare. While she went looking for ways to remove bad tenants,  the damage had already cost her cost her serious financial losses. She realized her mistake of not avoiding high-risk tenants, and she wants to help other new landlords like herself. Here are the lessons she learned: 

Be fair in your pricing

A low price will make good tenants think that there might be something wrong with the property or that the landlord lacks confidence. On the other hand, a high price scares good tenants who don’t have deep pockets. Study your price and market carefully to attract a wide pool of tenants who can afford the rent. Avoid discriminating based on race, ethnicity, and gender. However, be sure to have income requirements.

Related: Considerations on Pricing Your Unit

Create professional adverts

A well-made advert attracts better tenants. Provide an ad with clear and beautiful photos of your rental. Also, indicate in the ad that you will conduct and verify background checks. Include that you will ask for references and credit scores. Doing such will scare away potential problem tenants.

Show confidence in the property

If a potential tenant wants to view your vacant property, make sure that all is well maintained. If a tenant has previously vacated, make repairs quickly. Attracting good tenants and filtering bad ones can be done by keeping a good front. It will show that you, by all means, cannot tolerate carelessness, damage, and abuse resulting from bad residency.

Maintain a no-exception and iron-clad screening process

Landlords make the mistake of letting bad tenants in when they don’t conduct background checks. Always pre-qualify tenants by asking civilized yet strict protocol questions. Questions that can determine what are their problems with their current landlord. You can pre-qualify by talking on the phone, meeting face-to-face, or both. Requiring a paper or email information sheet to be filled up is also an important option. Ask for references or info verification.

Also, watch out for the bait-and-switch move. It means that they’re hiding behind a friend by lying about helping their friend find a place. Only to find out that they're moving in later as a roommate or a long-term guest without having their name on the lease.

Read: Top Tips for a Successful Tenant Screening Process

Don't accept partial, cheques, or cash

Partial payments are already bad enough for business common sense. Cheques can be bounced. Cash can be acquired illegally and can be untraceable. Prefer your payments to be made by bank or credit cards that are legal and automatic. Anything as long as it is safe, reliable and secure.

Keep accurate documentation

Have a lease with proper legal verifications and explain its terms before signing. Capture all information during their stay. Damages and infractions on house rules should be recorded accurately in case of a legal dispute. If a complaint has been issued, provide notice. It can be a written one or verbal, but a more polite alternative would be a phone call.

Be professional and stay in control

Don't buy sob stories and don't hesitate or wait to start eviction processes when a tenant has broken the terms of the lease. Keep your relationship professional, however. Don't raise your voice or create a scandal because of a late payment. Be responsible for your words as it teaches your tenant to do the same.

If you’re ready, make Landlord Prep your go-to resource for landlording education. Here, we offer a complete DIY landlording course to get you on the right track. Join our academy today. If you want, you can check out Flavia’s real estate investing webinar first!