Strategies to Avoid a Nightmare Tenant

By: Sean Wheller

3.Missing Information

Check that the information on the application form is completed fully. Often applicants do not put their income on the application form, or leave one applicants information totally blank (the spouse information for example) or other vital information. Many don't do this intentionally. Some don't feel comfortable and others just rush when filling out the form.

If they leave the application form blank for one applicant, often it is found that the main applicant (for example the husband) is clear with ITC and everything is fine, but the spouse isn't. Now, you may say that this is fine, as the main applicant pays the rent. But what happens if the couple splits up and you are left with the other person to pay the rent and they can't, but you never checked, so you couldn't possibly know. In this case, you will be left chasing the main applicant for the money (or even both) while the other is living rent free for as long as they can.

It is your responsibility to check on the spot that all the information is there. The reason you should check on the spot is very significant.

If you see a missing piece of information and ask the applicant to fill in please, you will get a response that should tell you immediately if they are trying to hide something, or just unintentionally missed it. This is crucial as you won't be able to get a good reaction over the phone or later if you ask for the information.

You can make decisions about the person on their reactions to your kind request. If they missed filling the telephone of the employer, they might not be working there anymore. If they missed filling in the telephone number of their previous landlord they might not want you to call that landlord. By their reaction you will often notice if they are doing this with reluctance or not.
When in doubt - kick out.

4.No References

Some people won't put any reference in the application form. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe they just don't know anyone and have no family in this country. Then you must be able to get reference from the work place and you should inquire with them why they have no references to give. Listen carefully to their answer to determine if this is legitimate, or they just don't want you to call anyone and check on them.

Either way, check if references and last landlords telephone number is filled in. If such information is missing, it should be checked and discussed with the applicant at time of filling in the form and face to face with the applicant.

5.Does Your Potential Tenant Have a Job?

Ask for reference from place of employment or telephone number of employer, and then check that they still work there or ever have.

It was found that people that were fired, made redundant or just left the job, a few days or weeks ago, still put the employers name without contact details. If either of the above happened recently they may need to downsize, but in the mean time they don't necessarily have a job or money to pay the rent.

If this has happened very recently they can still provide you with a pay slip from the same employer from last month, but you don't know that they no longer work there.

It is your responsibility to check all the facts, if you don't want problem tenants and also your decision if you are willing to rent them the property under the circumstances.
If the application is not open and transparent, don't take the tenant.

In the next part we will be discussing issues with self-employed tenants, why good impressions don't count and who must sign on the lease agreements.

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