5 Rental Application Red Flags That Should Be on Every Landlord’s Radar

5 Rental Application Red Flags That Should Be on Every Landlord’s Radar

September 21, 2017

Every landlord should realize the importance of thoroughly screening prospective rental applicants. In the long run, a rigorous screening process can save you a great deal of headaches and stress. Even if you’ve been lucky and have rented to some excellent tenants, you don’t want to get too lax about screening future applicants.

Here are 5 red flags or warning signs that you need to be aware of during the screening process.   

Applicant has no current address

Applicants must be able to verify their current address with a photo ID, utility bill, or some other type of documentation. Granted, they may be living with another family member or friend. However, it may also mean that they are currently getting evicted by their current landlord and don’t want you to know.

Applicant has no photo ID

Property management companies are all too familiar with what are known as “professional tenants” or individuals who rent an apartment by using another person’s identity (i.e. identity theft). They’ll use another person’s name and their good credit to rent the property. Sadly, it may be a family member or personal friend that they are victimizing. If they can’t verify who they say they are with a photo ID, move on to the next applicant.

Applicant is overly insistent or too pushy about renting from you

Whenever a prospective tenant is concerned that you’ll find something negative during the screening process, they will try to push you into making a decision. They might provide some type of urgent reason for moving in right away. If they’re too pushy, there’s a good chance they won’t follow your rules or respect your authority. The better applicants out there know the screening process takes time and can wait until you give them an answer.

Applicant makes mistakes on the application

If you encounter more than two or three mistakes on the application, this could be a red flag. Whether they have listed the wrong address or phone number, wrong starting and ending dates for employment or a past rental, they may be hiding something. While innocent mistakes are no cause for alarm, you should be suspicious when they make too many on the application.

Applicant pays you in cash

If the applicant insists on paying in cash, this could be a big red flag. While that’s not true in every case, the insistence on paying in cash usually means they are hiding something. For instance, they may be getting paid under the table and cannot verify their wages. Even worse, they might be engaged in some type of criminal activity. That is why it is important to stay aware of the red flags before you give your property on rent.


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