I’ve been in the property management field long enough to know red flags when I see them. You know, the tenant calls you and something just doesn’t feel right.
In my experience, here are some red flags every corporate housing landlord should be on the look out for:
A tenant who doesn’t want to complete the rental application. Every tenant should complete the rental application with a few core exceptions. For example, if the tenant has had their identity or credit card stolen, you may consider waiving the rental application. Also, elderly clients and someone who has never leased a property before may be more reluctant to complete an application and may not know it is a standard procedure. Any of the exceptions mentioned above would be an acceptable reason to lower the flag and give a prospective tenant alternatives to getting you the information.
Tenants who leave off numbers when providing their credit card and/or social security numbers. If any important information or numbers are missing, your flag should raise. If they are unwilling to provide this information then they need to understand that you have done all you can do but you cannot lease to them due to company policy.
Urgency. If a client is rushing you and says he needs to move in ASAP but is not getting you the information you need to do the lease, your red flag should be sky-high. Never rush into a deal until all your T’s are crossed. Rushed deals are often riddled with fraud – beware.
Their story changes. Another red flag can occur when a prospective tenants calls over and over again and gives you sob story after sob story. Or, sometimes they call and ask to speak to someone else so they can mix up the story and use one agent against another agent. Also, be weary of prospects who will only speak on the phone because they don’t want facts written down – these prospects can turn into he said she said cases.
Lies. If a prospective tenant lies on the application for any reason, they should be immediately disqualified from renting your property.
Someone who doesn’t want to fill out a rental credit application. This one speaks for itself. If someone has bad credit it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t afford the payments or should be immediately disqualified. But if they aren’t willing to have that discussion with you and disclose the truth upfront, your guard should be way up.
What other red flags have come up in your interactions with prospective renters?