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LA Tenant Screening – Red Flags to Look Out

Quality tenant screening is essential to the success of your rental business. A bad tenant can end up costing rental property owner a lot of money.  RPM Choice has helped so many rental property owners to manage or get rid of trouble tenants after the rental property owners could not resolve the issues on their own. The process can be long and costly to rental property owners. Because of this, proper tenant screening of perspective tenants is imperative to the success of your rental business. This post will point out red flags to look out for when meeting with or interviewing perspective tenants. 

Insufficient income and Long Gaps and Frequent Changes in Employment

Tenant Screening

Past income and stable income is the best predictor that your perspective tenant will consistently have enough money to pay rent. Generally speaking, the cost of rent should be no more than around 1/3 of the tenant’s monthly income: so, if they earn $6,000 per month, they should be able to afford to pay up to $2,000 for rent depending on cost of living for your local area.

Low credit score in tenant screening report

Always, always do a credit check, full criminal background check, and rent payment and eviction history check on prospective tenants. It’s a simple process that can protect you from chronically non-paying and/or late-paying tenants and tenant scam. RPM Choice can help you to run instant credit and criminal background check, check rental history and verify employment status with our established property management systemBe wary of any negative items on perspective tenant screening report and evaluate carefully. 

Suspicious behavior during interview

Not all red flags surface on a written application. This is why it’s so important to meet with a prospective tenant in person. If this isn’t possible due to location, by phone is the next best thing.

Does the person repeatedly reschedule, or arrive significantly late to the scheduled appointments, or not follow through with other required procedures on time? When asked about his work or rental history, is his story consistent with what it is on his tenant screen report? Does the person try everything possible to avoid for you to run tenant screen report by supplying their own credit report?  These are all red flags that suggest he may be a problem tenant.

Eager to move in immediately

Depending on their situation, a quick move can be a serious red flag. It can signal a lost job, unexpected move, or eviction from their current property. Unless the prospective tenant can prove that they have a reasonable explanation for wanting to move in quickly (e.g., relocation), consider this a red flag.

Ideal tenant will be the one who pays on time and stays long term. Anyone who shows a history of moving frequently (more than once every couple of years) should be carefully evaluated.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to get an accurate rental history from a prospective tenant. Fortunately, our tenant screen report can help by providing you with national rental payment data as part of your screening report.

Bad or missing rental references

While a bad landlord reference is obviously one of the biggest red flags out there, keep in mind that some landlords will give a neutral or even positive reference just to get a bad tenant out of their hair.

Always be sure to call references to explicitly inquire about the following: Did the tenant always pay on time? Did they get their full security deposit back? If not, why? Were there ever complaints about the tenants? If the responses are negative or if the landlord seems evasive, you should evaluate carefully.

Unwillingness to offer information

People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. Incomplete or ambiguous answers on their application or during the interview may indicate that there is something in their history worth hiding.

One piece of information that some tenants are reluctant to share is their social security number. While this hesitation is understandable to a point, getting a tenant’s SSN and copy of driver license is a necessary part of running a proper credit check and background check. For this reason, consider it a huge red flag if the person is unwilling to hand it over.

Trying to delay the security deposit or first rental payment

 Always take cashier’s check or money order from a prospective tenant for initial security deposit and first rent payment. If the person shows any hesitancy about making their initial payment, this can signal a troubled financial situation. Promising they’ll give it to you after they move in, or asking you to “hold their spot” until they pay almost certainly means trouble.

Screening prospective tenants can be time-consuming, and it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint red flags. The property management team at RPM Choice is experienced in tenant screening, and can handle the entire process for you: including credit, criminal background and rental history checks. Contact us today to find out exactly how we can help! We are here to ensure that we will add more to your bottom line even factoring in our management fee.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

  1. Allan Foglio says:

    Great Article !
    You added many types of info about tenant selection.I think that your article has been something new ideas.Thanks for sharing this article…..

  2. Ellen says:

    Thank you for this article. I agree that it has some new interesting ideas. However in order to see other red flags, landlords need to interview applicants. Here is list of questions that property owners can ask their prospective tenants https://rentberry.com/blog/potential-tenant-interview. Special attention should be payed on the questions concerning eviction and renters insurance.