It can happen to any investment property owner: a charismatic rental applicant comes in, with perhaps plenty of cash for the deposit but a reluctance to talk to previous landlords about being references. Maybe their application and background check turn up a bunch of not-great results, but they assure you that they were caused by interpersonal issues or cash flow problems in the past. What do you do? It's easy to be enticed by an eager, claims-to-have-changed renter. Let the background knowledge of Glen Burnie property management companies guide you.
What is a Professional Tenant, Anyway?
We use the term "professional tenant" to refer to a person who has been through a few different rental experiences and has figured out ways to game the system. This often involves looking for legal loopholes and mistakes in a procedure that landlords make accidentally, allowing the renter to continue to live in the property while not paying rent. They may know exactly how much notice is needed for eviction, for instance, and claim that not enough notice was given, triggering more time for them to stay in the property.
There is no 'one kind' of professional tenant, but here are some warning signs that could point to future challenges.
- Requests for exceptions to screening procedures, like not wanting a credit check or not wanting to give you a valid form of ID.
- History checks reveal major cash flow issues like bankruptcies or major conflicts with past landlords, including evictions.
- Some professional tenants will try to use prepaid rent, such as a cash security deposit and two or three months' rent, as a reason to get around typical procedures. They rely on Glen Burnie property owners accepting the easy money rather than asking questions about where the following months of rent will come from.
- They may know an uncanny amount about real estate and renting, especially about their own rights as a renter. There are many reasons to have this kind of knowledge, so it's not enough on its own, but flaunting a lot of knowledge about renter's rights in combination with red flags at the renter's past rental homes can be a bad sign.
It's easy to get flustered when a professional tenant gets into your property, causes problems like refusing to pay rent or causing damage to the property, and then seems to have a legal reason to avoid the consequences of their actions. Hopefully, the average rental property owner won't have run into one before. But the majority of Glen Burnie property management companies have. They know it is frustrating to deal with someone who is trying to get something for nothing. They don't want to deal with consequences or keep up their end of the lease agreement.
Easiest Path? Avoid Them in the First Place
A good property manager will put steps in place to avoid falling prey to professional tenants in the first place. For instance, if you make landlord references from past rentals a prerequisite to be accepted as a renter, you'll have two important things happen. First, you'll attract fewer professional tenants in the first place, since they don't want to have to share their past landlord information with you. Second, you'll be able to hold firm when a tenant applicant is asking you to 'overlook' their lack of references.
You are better off putting in writing what your tenant screening process is, since professional tenants may try to claim that elements of their past records aren't a good reason to turn them down as applicants. If you have loose, flexible rules for how you choose a renter, they may be able to push you into accepting their application despite your misgivings. Solid rental screening strategies will help you hold strong. Yes, sometimes this may mean a little longer vacancy cycle if the Glen Burnie renter whose background raised red flags was your only applicant. However, eviction proceedings and other challenges with professional tenants cost much much more than even a fairly long vacancy.
Professional Tenants Recognize the Expertise of a Property Manager
Much like strict background checks and screening protocols will turn away professional tenants, having a great Glen Burnie property management company on your side is a deterrent. They don't want to have to deal with the expenses and wasted time that a professional tenant can rack up, so they keep a keen eye out for anyone who isn't willing to work with the typical process for renter screening. Professional tenants learn that the property managers hold firm, so they look for a different rental if they can. It's a nice way to solve the problem without ever having to have it in the first place!
You don't have to live in fear of professional tenants, but you do want to have resources and partnerships on your side to make them less frequent and to stop them from having power over you. Download our guide to choosing a great Glen Burnie property management company to learn more about how property management can help you with challenging renters.