Landlord Blog

Education and news for smart DIY landlords!

Ways Landlords Become Vulnerable to Rent Theft and How to Deal with It

Running a rental property business makes you prone to theft. Tenants and people you hire to help you manage your rental can also steal from you. Here are some real-life scenarios:

  • A landlord added $300 worth of plants to beautify the landscape for his tenants. One tenant was caught digging the plants in an attempt to sell it and earn cash. 
  • In Tallahassee, the manager of an apartment complex named Colleen E. Henerey was accused of stealing more than $8,000. What she did was that she cashed tenants’ money orders.
  • The last tenants of a rental property in Massachusetts stole a kitchen table, silverware, and Christmas decorations. The police were able to recover these stolen items.

Whether or not it is the employees or tenants that steal from you, you need to protect yourself. Landlord Prep shares useful tips below.

Make tenant background checks a requirement.

One way to tell how a tenant will behave in your property is to take a look at his past. Thorough background checks are a must as part of the screening process. Double check the tenant’s identity, employment, previous rental experience, and credit report.

Related: Top Tips for a Successful Tenant Screening Process

Background screen employees.

We’ve been constantly mentioning the importance of screening tenants. But if you hire a property manager to handle day-to-day landlording responsibilities on your behalf, check their background as well. Speak with the employee’s former employer. Ask for personal references. Know the local rules first about obtaining credit history since many states don’t allow it. 

Avoid money orders for rent payments.

Landlords who protect themselves from bounced checks and potential theft in drop boxes use money orders. However, money orders can also be stolen and cashed. This leaves tenants and landlords arguing over who was at fault. Also, tenants find money orders inconvenient, and this leads to late rent payments. Introduce other payment options such as online payments.

Conduct periodic inspections.

Throughout the tenancy, periodic inspections are important. Periodic inspections allow you to check the condition of the rental. Let tenants be aware that you are watching, and that you are the kind of landlord whom they shouldn’t cross. Maintain a professional relationship with your tenants. 

Final Thoughts

If you ever catch someone stealing, report them to the authorities and be sure to get reimbursed. Also, it helps to build rapport with property owners near you. Exchange phone numbers. That way, they can alert you if they notice anything suspicious.

Learn More About Becoming a Successful Landlord...

Finally, I offer you the opportunity to take a complete DIY landlording course: Landlord Prep: Video E-Course and How-To Tutorials. Everything you need to know to become not just a landlord, but a successful landlord, is here.