Dirty Tricks Tenants Play . . .

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Property Solutions, LLC

Poor property management can take one of the most stable, secure, and profitable investments you can make, and turn it into a feat which is, as Earl Nightingale was wont to say, “More difficult than trying to juggle two skunks and a bobcat”.

Why all this focus on the underhanded gambits of tenants?  Are the majority of people applying for my rental properties out to trick or deceive me?

The answer, my friend, is absolutely not.  The majority of tenants that will apply for your properties are decent, honest, hardworking folks.  The problem is that their unethical counterparts move around a lot, thereby giving you a greater chance to encounter them than their proportion of the tenant pool would indicate. So onward to preparing you for these “tricks”.  Forewarned is forearmed!

Here are some of the most common “tricks” they will use to muddy the waters of their past history and therefore current stability:

  1. Falsified rental history.  If done cleverly, this can be very difficult for the untrained landlord to detect.  A common technique is to list their rental history for a long period of time as “living with relatives”.  This is a favorite of the unscrupulous and unsavory because it is very hard to verify.  A slight variant is use an address which they have never lived at, and give you the name and cell phone number of a friend or close family member.  Both of these techniques can be easily overcome by pulling credit reports, and seeing if the address history on their credit report matches that which they have listed on your application.  Do not hesitate to look up the phone number of the person who actually owned each property listed on their credit report at the time they listed it as a residence (a good application will grant you permission to do this) and ask the true owner if they did indeed rent to that person.  I have uncovered some disturbing rental histories with this technique.
  2. Putting the lease in the “good applicant’s” name.  With this technique, your applicant will attempt to apply for only one adult, saying either that they want the lease in only one of their names, or that the other person is just living with them for a “little while”.  Don’t fall for it.  I require permission to pull credit and criminal history for every adult that will be living in the property. No exceptions.  Best that you know who will be residing in the immensely valuable asset that you are “loaning” to your applicants.  If they balk, there is almost certainly something they do not want you to see.
  3. Moving additional occupants into your property.  Besides the fact that the state has legal limits for how many adults may occupy each bedroom, and the additional problem of people whose criminal history you have not had a chance to review are in the house, there is an unavoidable result of too many people occupying your property- increased wear and tear. 

The math is simple. If there are 2 times as many people living in the property than were intended, the toilet is being flushed 2 times more, 2 times more bacon grease is being poured down the kitchen sink, 2 times as many feet are walking on the carpet, causing it to wear out twice as fast . . . you get the picture.  The solution is to have your rental application require that every vehicle that will be parked there be listed, and the lease state that if additional vehicles occupy the property beyond a certain timeframe, the rental rate will retroactively increase.  Check with your attorney for specifics.

  4. Attempting to use their security deposit as their “last month’s rent” when moving out.  This is also common, and        many landlords overlook the glaring problem with agreeing to this arrangement- you no longer have a security deposit.        If damage is done to the property, you are unlikely to uncover the full extent of it until after your tenant has vacated,           taking with them the money you should be holding against the need to make repairs.  You will not do this very many           times before figuring out that it is a win/lose situation, and you are not the winner.

 

Lou Gimbutis, owner of Property Solutions, LLC, www.SoldCarolina.com, has been buying and selling houses full-time since 2004, first in Michigan, then after moving to NC in 2007.  He serves as Director of Education for the Metrolina Real Estate Investor’s Association.

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Rainmaker
3,360,748
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Good morning, Lou - staying informed and being aware is key.  In life and in effective property management.  Good potential red flag alerts.  

Oct 07, 2019 06:35 AM #1
Rainer
223,917
Nicholas Crane
Woodland Companies - Cadott, WI
Managing & Appraising Forest Land

Thanks for sharing this Lou Gimbutis some great info for landlords, I have been dealing with tenants for over 10 years and I have seen most of these dirty tricks being attempted. A good screening process can save many future headaches. 

Oct 07, 2019 06:58 AM #2
Rainer
6,497
Gail Smith-Bibb
Gwen Fowler Real Estate - West Union, SC
A tradition of trust

I work as a bailiff in civil court. Shame,  landlord has to waste resources on such to get an eviction. And I have heard tenants ask for more time to move out! Thanks for pointing out the dirty little tricks. I bet you could write a book.

Oct 07, 2019 07:27 AM #3
Rainer
408,508
Dan Hopper
Keller Williams Realty Downtown LLC - Denver, CO
Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale

Good information for those seeking to become a property manager or a self-directed mistake of doing their own.... keep it simple, hire a property managment company!!  Thanks ,.

Oct 07, 2019 08:28 AM #4
Rainmaker
9,920
Lou Gimbutis
Property Solutions, LLC - Statesville, NC
Buying & Selling Houses Since 2004.

Thanks all!  Just keep in mind that not all property managment companies are created equal, and ensure that they use "Best Practices" like these, and a strong lease.

Oct 07, 2019 02:27 PM #5
Rainmaker
2,772,289
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Luckily, I haven’t had too many bad experiences in that particular regard with tenants or clients.

Oct 14, 2019 09:00 PM #25
Rainmaker
2,772,289
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I think a lot of my stuff fits a lot of your stuff and you should come on over and check it out or follow.

Oct 14, 2019 09:02 PM #26
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Rainmaker
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Lou Gimbutis

Buying & Selling Houses Since 2004.
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