On September 23, 2016, CBC reported the story of James Regan, a well-dressed and well-spoken “professional tenant” who had tricked countless landlords and lived in high-end properties rent-free. The latest landlord had lost $3,200 in monthly rent Regan was supposed to have paid on the upscale Yorkville house Regan lived in for months.
But how is this possible? Regan is what many refer to as a “professional tenant.” He was extraordinarily well-informed on real estate and rental law, specifically its loopholes. He was also keenly aware of the power of appearances. Presenting himself in expensive clothes and talking about all the valuable art he owned, Regan hoodwinked landlords eager to find a reliable tenant for exclusive properties.
When a professional tenant signs a lease, he or she has absolutely no intention of ever paying rent. Regan even got away with not paying the deposit and last month’s rent with his maneuverings. Without a Logan UT property management expert to keep an eye on your rental properties, this could happen to you, too.
Tips for Avoiding “Professional Tenants”
You can avoid being tricked out of the deposit and last month’s rent by ensuring you receive this at the time of lease signing and before you give the tenant keys to the property or unit. Regan’s landlord made the mistake of giving Regan the keys before he had made these payments.
Unfortunately, if you believe that a professional tenant has already moved into one of your properties, you will inevitably face a bit of hassle. Hiring a Logan UT property management company is critical. Professional tenants will be much less likely to feel that they can trick a reputable property management company and might give up on their efforts to get out of rent.
Signs of a Pro Tenant
Think you might have a professional tenant on your hands? Here are some of the potential signs below:
- The tenant only pays part of the rent: Some professional tenants will pay some (but not all) of the rent each month. If you take a partial portion of the rent, state laws indicate that the tenant will be immune from eviction until the following month. In these circumstances, the tenant has more time in the unit. If this happens often enough, you may find that you are owed a large amount of money at the time that the lease ends.
- The tenant gets out of paying late fees: A professional tenant in Logan UT, may test the waters at first by withholding late fees. If you find yourself constantly chasing a tenant for late fees, you may get worn out and give up. After all, it’s just a small amount of money. However, a professional tenant may see this as a sign that they can push you in other areas.
- The tenant only wants to pay in cash: Taking rent in cash can be a bit risky. That is because there is no physical proof that the rent has been paid (or not been paid). A professional tenant might even try to forge rent receipts.
- The tenant falsely claims that the unit is uninhabitable: Be on the alert if a tenant is constantly making complaints about the apartment that you know aren’t valid. If this is a professional tenant, he or she may be trying to create a record of complaints. To help protect yourself, maintain detailed records of repairs and maintenance. Always ensure that you have concrete proof that the unit is habitable.
Tenant Screening is Key
Properly screening your applicants can help you avoid professional tenants. Below are some signs of a potential professional tenant or otherwise troublesome renter:
- History of delinquency with previous landlords (especially if this has happened recently) in Logan UT or elsewhere
- A history of evictions or litigation with landlords
- A background in law, contracting, or real estate and/or unusually detailed knowledge of landlord-tenant law
- Gaps in the tenant’s rental history without a reasonable explanation
- Lack of landlord references or ones that are incomplete or fake
- A record of financial judgments, collections, several bankruptcies, or bad credit
If you spot any of these red flags during the screening process, take notice. A thorough screening process not only helps investors identify excellent renters, but it also helps them avoid potentially bad or professional tenants.
Working with a property manager in Logan UT to develop a thorough screening process and help you identify signs of a problem tenant—before allowing them to move in. Avoiding professional tenants is the best way to deal with them!
Protect Yourself with a Property Management Company
If your properties are managed by a Logan UT property management company, professional renters are much less likely to see you as a target. Reeder Asset Management has the right experience to spot professional tenants before we ever let them near your property. If you're struggling to find quality renters or you're currently dealing with a difficult tenant, reach out and let us help!
Choosing a property management company is a big decision. Where should you start? We invite you to download our free guide to finding the right property manager.