Tenant Screening: 3 Potential Red Flags

12 September 2019
 Categories: Real Estate, Blog


As a property manager, you want to ensure the rental property you are responsible for is clean and well kept. The best way to protect the property is to find responsible tenants. Screening tenants is a tried and true method. However, if you don't know what to watch for, a bad tenant might slip through. Here are a few potential tenant red flags to watch for during the screening process.

Poor or Missing Rental References

References from past landlords are a great way to see if a potential tenant paid their rent on time, left their apartment clean, and kept the peace. Watch for a lack of rental history or a rental history that seems suspicious. If this is the first apartment for a younger tenant, it would make sense there is no rental history.

However, if the renter is older and they state they are not a previous homeowner, having a spotty rental history should raise suspicion. Contact former landlords on the reference list to ensure they are valid as well. The tenant could be putting the names and phone numbers of friends and family, rather than legitimate former property owners.

Gaps in Employment

A potential tenant needs a steady income to pay rent on time, which is why you need to ask for employment history. Look for a tenant who has huge gaps in employment or their employment history doesn't add up. Contact any former employers to inquire if the information is accurate. If the employer never heard of your potential tenant, keep looking.

Willing to Take an Apartment Without Looking at It

Hosting an open house is a great way to get the word out about your property and for potential tenants to determine if the apartment is right for them. The open house is also the ideal way to meet potential tenants and get a first impression. If a tenant doesn't attend the open house, doesn't want to view the apartment, and wants to move in right away, think twice before renting to this tenant.

A tenant who wants to move in right away and is not interested in the layout and amenities might be trying to find a new place because they were evicted from their previous apartment. If you do allow the potential renter to fill out an application, check their references, including past landlords.

From major gaps in an employment record to the desire to take an apartment without a tour, when it comes to screening potential tenants, there are several red flags to watch for.

For more information about property management, contact a company like MacPherson's  Property Management.