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Spokane Property Management Blog

Common Red Flags That Come Up in Tenant Screening

Home River Group - Spokane - Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Property Management Blog

As a landlord, a bad tenant is your worst nightmare.

Fortunately, knowing what to look out for and properly screening applicants can help you avoid nightmare tenants. Keep reading to learn more about the red flags to look out for when it comes to tenant screening. 

Low Income

Applicants should make enough money to pay their rent. If their income is too low, this can be a huge red flag. Applicant's monthly income should be at least 2.5-3x their monthly rent. 

Criminal History

While avoiding criminals might seem obvious, it isn't always easy to know what to do when this red flag pops up.

Gather as much information as you can and evaluate these applicants carefully. Look at the number of convictions an applicant has as well as what they were convicted of. 

Bad Credit

An applicant's credit score is one of the best indicators of whether they will pay their rent on time.

A bad credit score speaks volumes. The minimum passing credit score is usually 640 and applicants with a score this low should pass all of your other tests.

Prior Evictions

Don't risk your investment on applicants who have been previously evicted.

A prior eviction means this person defaulted on their lease and refused to move out voluntarily. This is one of the biggest red flags and it's best to avoid such tenants altogether. 

No References

A trustworthy tenant should be able to provide solid references from prior landlords.

Of course, if this is their first lease they may not have a prior landlord. But if they have rented before and can't provide a reference, this is a red flag. 

Poor Employment History

Keep an eye out for tenants who change jobs too often. This is a sign of instability and may indicate problems paying rent if they can't keep a job. 

Frequent Relocation

One of the things to look for when screening for problem tenants is frequent relocation.

Applicants who are living in a motel or with friends or family should be carefully vetted. This is sometimes one of the biggest red flags. Staying with a friend or relative could be a sign of a prior eviction, especially if the applicant can't provide references from prior landlords. 

Failing to Complete the Application

Problem tenants tend to have things to hide. For this reason, they will often leave parts of the application blank or complain about the application process.

Trustworthy tenants that have nothing to hide will have no problem going through the full application process and providing all of the requested information. 

Professional Tenant Screening

As a landlord, one of the best things you can do to protect your investment is screen potential tenants before you even offer them a lease. Prevention is worth more than a cure when it comes to bad tenants, but knowing what to look for isn't always obvious.

We can help you screen potential tenants.

Click here to contact us and learn more about our tenant screening services today.