Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management
As the owner of Stress Free Property Management, a Tampa Property Manager, I reviewed thousands of rental applications and talked with more potential applicants than I care to remember. What I’ve discovered over the years are certain behaviors, actions, or stories that if they show up, almost always point to a terrible prospective tenant.
1) They have a story about how they need to move in right away because of their Tampa property management company or landlord! Usually the story revolves around how their current landlord is the “Devil.” The landlord refuses to do repairs, the house has been condemned, there is mold, or any number of explanations. The key here is the tenant must move in right away because of the failure of the landlord to do what they should. The goal is to prevent you from doing proper background checks by creating false sense of urgency.
This sounds obvious but new property managers will fall for it, because the story is so detailed and said with such sincerity. Heck, I’ve even seen tears and angry tirades by these prospects. It’s very difficult for new landlords to believe that someone could lie so persuasively. We all tend to think that people are honest, and this is normally a healthy attitude. However, most people don’t realize about 2% or 3% of the population are pathological liars and/or lack a strong moral compass.
I call these prospects, “Nightmare Tenants” because they are responsible for over 80% of the horrible stories you hear about.
2) They love your home, listen with genuine admiration to everything you say and…(wait for it!) they have cash and want to move in right away! Now this red flag often comes in combination with #1 above, but not always. Generally, if someone makes this offer, I know the odds are 90%+ that they will not qualify, once I do background checks. The prospect is trying to pressure you into deciding on the spot without screening them. #1 and #2 Tips are probably the prime reasons why most landlords stop being landlords.
Always keep in mind that this 2-3% of the population is fishing for private landlords who don’t or can be convinced not to pull background checks. Often these prospects have been evicted or skipped out on landlords many, many times in their lives.
3) The prospect wants to do work on your rental in exchange for rent reduction, lower security deposit, or no security deposit. Often these people work in the construction industry in one way or another. This can come up for a couple of reasons. Some newer landlords don’t really want to spend the money to fix up the home to rental standards, because of cashflow, time, or both. The second reason is the prospect looks for stuff wrong and tries to convince the landlord that these things need to be done, when they really don’t. A common one of this type is painting the home.
Part 2 of this article will be next on this blog. :)
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