Rental Red Flags: Warning Signs Landlords Should Look Out For

If you’re a landlord, you can probably think of nothing worse than your rental property sitting empty. The prospect of covering the mortgage and utility bills in between tenancies may keep you awake at night. There are also security implications: a lengthy void period may invalidate your landlord insurance and increase the risk of squatters moving in.

However, in a desire to get new tenants in quickly, it’s essential you don’t let your guard down. Because while an empty rental is bad, having a tenant who is a fraudster or serial rent dodger is worse. Rental red flags are crucial to recognise to avoid costly mistakes.

Here are the rental red flags you need to watch out for and how to respond if you encounter them:

Rental Red Flags to Look Out For

‘Let’s do a deal on the spot’ Someone wants to move into your rental property ASAP – but there’s a catch. They need you to drop the usual credit and reference checks and agree to a deal today. Don’t succumb to this pressure. Always stick to your safeguarding and referencing procedures.

‘The dog ate my ID’ If a tenant can’t show you their bank statements, references, or passport, alarm bells should start ringing. If they can’t prove who they are, how do you know who they are?

‘I can’t make the viewing – but my mother/brother/cousin can’ It’s important to meet any prospective tenant face to face. Be suspicious if someone can’t view the property in person but is willing to send a go-between to do it for them.

‘I’ll pay you cash in advance’ Someone is willing to hand you wads of cash, provided you don’t ask questions about their background. Why are they initiating a transaction that will leave no paper trail? Don’t wait to find out. Send them packing without further ado.

‘Don’t bother with a viewing; I’ll take the property sight unseen’ This line is problematic for two reasons. First, you can’t meet the tenant in person. Second, what kind of person commits to a long-term contract on a property they’ve not seen? What are they running from? And how reliable will they turn out to be? You probably don’t want to know.

The Solution

The good news is that there is a way you can sleep easy at night – by using the services of a respected letting agent. An experienced agent will help you attract high-quality tenants and oversee the tenant screening process. They’ll also help you carefully manage your property to minimise void periods and maximise returns.

Contact us to learn more about our tenant screening and property management services. Recognising these rental red flags early can save you from potential trouble down the road.

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