How to Spot a Bad Tenant Early

Annoyed Landlord

Almost every landlord is scared of ending up with a tenant who neglects their property or does not take rent deadlines seriously. Concerns like these are only natural, but did you know it’s possible to circumvent these problems even before they begin?

Yes! It’s possible. Here are some tell-tale signs of a bad tenant. 

1. Late Payments

You knew this was coming, didn’t you?

The alarm bells should be ringing if your tenant consistently delays the money they owe you. However, there’s no need to panic if their first standing order is overdue or if it fails to appear at all. This call also happens because of a clerical error at the bank. Talk to your tenant and ask them if they’re facing a problem, and then casually remind them that you expect the rent at a fixed date.

That said, if you continue experiencing delayed payments, ask them directly if they’re having trouble affording the rent and discuss how they want to sort this out.

2. They Have Problems with the Question You Ask

However, some tenants can show a few red flags even before they’ve moved into the place. Unless the rental application you put in front of them is detailed and requires research, a good candidate should be able to fill it out easily without any objections. However, keep in mind that even a good candidate may need a few minutes to verify the contact information of their previous landlords or check their credit score.

However, problems may pop up if they leave some spots blank in the application or are unwilling to fill them out entirely. According to these Miami property managers, this could be a sign they’re trying to hide something or are unprepared and disorganized. Moreover, if a potential tenant cannot give you straightforward answers to routine questions a landlord may ask (they might even start getting defensive), you may have to make some additional considerations.

They may be simply nervous, but it could also mean there’s something about their past that they don’t want you to know.

3. They Want to Rent ASAP

Some situations can be out of a tenant’s control, which is completely natural. However, if the person is clamoring to move into your rental unit in a few days (less than a week usually), then it could be a sign that:

  • They’ve been evicted from their previous unit, or they’ve been served a notice;
  • Their lease ended, and they failed to make future arrangements on time. An ill-prepared candidate will likely be an unreliable renter;
  • They can’t afford the rent of their existing establishment and have decided to leave the place; or
  • They’re planning to leave their existing house without any notice.

That said, it’s also possible that your potential tenant is in this position because of bad luck. The bottom line, in this case, is to verify whatever they tell you before you let them sign the contract.

4. They’re Refusing You Access

You should also include a clause in your tenancy agreement that states that the tenant must grant you sufficient access for routine inspections. This will let you ensure they haven’t burned your place down and are surviving on the ruins.

We’re joking. This is highly unlikely, but carrying out maintenance checks regularly is essential. If they don’t let you enter the property, they may have something to hide. In this case, it’s your job to remind them that they’re breaking the conditions of their agreement, and you can evict them.

5. Haggling, Complaining, and Demanding

Perhaps one of the most annoying signs of a bad tenant.

Most potential tenants will stay on their best behavior in the initial meetings and showings because they’re trying their best to impress you. That said, some tenants may display different behavior. Make sure you take note if a potential tenant is increasingly negative (particularly if they have only negative things to say about their previous landlords).

Wrapping Up

The best-case scenario is that your bad tenant will only be late on their payments and a tad bit noisy in some cases. Just ensure you have a robust screening process; everything else will eventually fall into place on its own.