How to Spot a Terrible Tenant: 7 Warning Signs from Atlanta Property Management

While all Atlanta, GA landlords want their rental property filled with tenants who pay the rent, dealing with a difficult tenant could ruin your investment goals. A terrible tenant will take advantage of almost any situation and leave real estate investors with income loss. 

Our Atlanta property management experts have compiled a list of warning signs that can help rental property owners spot a terrible tenant. When going through your tenant screening process, watch for these seven warning signs that you could be interviewing a bad renter!




1. Making False Claims on the Application

Potential tenants must fill out an application as a first step of the rental process. Lying or making false claims is a common warning sign of a person who is not going to be responsible. While some people might accidentally forget critical details, others know that they don't qualify and attempt to cover up their bad credit or rental history with bogus information. Work with a property manager to apply a screening process that highlights incorrect information on an application. 

2. Can't Verify Enough Income or Has Spotty Employment History

For landlords to make money, renters must pay the rent each month. Landlords should be leary of people who don't have proof of a sufficient income to pay the rent each month. A general rule of thumb is to ensure that an applicant has enough monthly income so that 30 percent of their take-home pay covers the amount of your rental's monthly rate. 

In today's "gig economy," it can be hard to verify a renter's income. Make sure to hire property managers to help you authenticate a potential tenant's income to keep you from dealing with past-due payments a few months into the lease. 

3. Moves Around a Lot

An applicant with several addresses in a short amount of time could be a red flag that a tenant is a "professional" renter. Professional renters are looking for new landlords for their scam of moving into a home, then never paying the rent. If a renter has a tendency to change apartments once a year or less, this could be a bad sign that you're not dealing with someone who plans to be an excellent, long-term resident. 

It's smart to hire an Atlanta property management company to do a little digging through expert tenant screening to make sure an applicant has valid reasons for frequent address changes. 

4. Bad Credit History

A person's credit history is a good indicator of how responsible they are and their ability to pay bills on time. It also tells you about the types of payments they have made in the past. If a credit report shows an eviction or that previous rental accounts were not paid, it can be a strong indication for future behavior.

This is another opportunity to let an Atlanta property management company work with you to find the perfect tenant. A professional property manager can guide you through some steps to protect yourself from a person with a lower credit score, including a co-signer on the lease or requiring a larger security deposit. 

5. Trying to Get an Atlanta GA Property Owner to Budge on Money

Atlanta property management companies know that a bad tenant will often seek concessions from the property owner. They might try to talk you out of collecting a security deposit. They could also try to negotiate lower rental rates.

Once the ideal rent amount is set, property owners in Atlanta, GA, shouldn't negotiate with tenants who aren't willing to pay that rate to sign a new lease agreement. 

6. Shows Previous Evictions from a Rental Property

Any record of prior evictions can be a bad sign for a new renter, especially if those evictions are discovered while checking references—and they have more than one eviction. It can be understood that people get in financial trouble and may be asked to vacate a rental home, but renters that try to hide an eviction could be hiding much more than that. 

7. A Sketchy First Impression

If prospective tenants show up late for a viewing appointment or look sloppy or have more family members than you were first told about, these are all bad signs. Sometimes property owners have to go with their gut. If a prospective tenant doesn't make a good impression, this could be a red flag worth noting. 

However, landlords must never judge a book by its cover. Make sure not to discriminate or make another mistake that could lead to a costly lawsuit or legal trouble for your rental property business. Get help from a professional property management company to navigate local and federal regulations and follow all Fair Housing laws. 




Contact an Atlanta Property Management Company to Screen Tenants

A professional property management company can help real estate investors screen new tenants and avoid bad renters! While there is rarely a "perfect" tenant, finding renters who pay rent on time and take care of the property during the term of the lease is critical for long-term success. If you would like to talk more about how professional property managers can help, give Compass Property Management a call.

For a quick overview of finding great tenants, download a copy of our free Tenant Screening Checklist.