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Bad Renter Warning Signs

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There are "professional rental scammers" out there looking for naive landlords to take advantage of. You have to screen them out to be successful as a Hobby Landlord. Often they search out individual landlords because they can't get past the screening criteria of a professional property management company. Here are some "bad renter" warning signs I have seen over the years:

They seem too desperate.

Bad renters are always on the run from something. They REALLY need for you to approve them. They are in a bad situation and ONLY you can help them. They accept any conditions you proffer, because they don't really intend to abide by them anyway and they want you to see them as friendly and agreeable.

They need a place to live immediately.

Bad renters need for you to short-curcuit your normal process and approve them quickly. They often have plenty of money to pay your deposit and first month rent (because they are WAY behind where they currently live!) They think you'll be swayed by their "emergency" and let them move in without your normal due diligence.


They are overly polite.

Bad renters are VERY polite. They liberally use "sir" and "ma'am". While I am an advocate of good manners, they take it to an extreme. They see it as a game to win you over.

They don't care about the details.

Bad renters are not very interested in the details of the rental agreement. They don't care what it take to get their deposit back, because they NEVER get their rental deposit back. They don't care about move out expectations, because you'll just be thrilled when they finally sneak away in the night.

They are not concerned about maintenance issues.

Bad renters are not concerned with minor maintenance issues. They want to be very agreeable so that you'll be more disposed to accept them against your better judgement. They want you to like them and to think that they will not be constantly complaining about maintenance problem. (Of course, they will complain later, but at this point, they'll hold off on complaining. A good renter will typically ask about maintenance issues BEFORE they sign an agreement.

They are vague about the details of their situation.

Bad renters are typically very vague about everything. Where they work, when they work, who will be living in the house, why they are moving, etc. By being vague, they are trying to keep you from finding out details that will not be acceptable to you. By being vague, they can fill in details later that they think you want to hear.

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