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Red Flags to Watch For When Leasing Your Property


Every landlord wants to avoid difficult or even disastrous tenants before having to begin the eviction process. Fortunately, it is possible to get better at noticing red flags before the final signings take place.


While most of this is tied to learning from past experience, here are a few common and important red flags to pay attention to when leasing your rental property.


Missing Paperwork or Information

People make mistakes. This could mean forgetting certain paperwork, neglecting to sign a specific page of the lease, or a variety of other forgotten pieces that slipped through the cracks.


That said, it is important to take note when core paperwork or information appears to be missing. This includes things like social security numbers, important references, or clear and complete answers on forms. Start with a firm reminder, and move on to the next tenant if there is additional resistance.


Odd Interviews

Virtually every landlord can tell a story of weird questions or behavior in interviews. This is part of the reason that in-depth conversations and questioning are critical before someone moves in—it’s the best way to get a feel of the person you are working with.


“Odd” interviews can mean a range of different things. Some things to look out for when scheduling showings, interviews, and lease signings with prospective tenants include:


  • Showing up late or proving difficult to coordinate with - This can indicate the potential tenant’s overall reliability as well as their seriousness about the property.

  • Uncomfortable tone or body language - This is why in-person interviews are vital. There is a great deal we communicate through our tone and body language, and when someone is noticeably uncomfortable about answering something, you should press further.

  • Strange or suspicious questions - Did they ask about noise restrictions? The strictness of rule enforcement? Weirdly specific circumstances regarding guests? Listen to your gut and ask follow-up questions.

  • Defensive attitude toward questions or requirements - While a lot of questions, background checks, and information requirements can leave people feeling vulnerable, they are a necessary part of the process. This is something that hopeful renters are aware of; if they get defensive and difficult, they likely have something to hide

Intense Eagerness to Move In

Of course, everyone involved in the leasing process can benefit from signing and moving in as quickly as possible. The landlord gets their property rented, the tenant gets a home, and everyone is happy.


That said, listen to your instincts if it feels like a potential tenant is a tad too eager to move in as quickly as possible. This could stem from a variety of unpleasant reasons, including:


  • The tenant currently facing eviction from another property

  • The tenant knows they are about to lose/change a job or face other financial hardship

  • Hope that an expedited process will make it easier for something to be overlooked


That said, there are legitimate reasons people are in a hurry to have a new home. Perhaps they lost their previous home to a natural disaster, are starting school or work soon, or simply have run out of time in their previous lease. The important thing is to address this eagerness so the conversation can happen and you can make your decision accordingly.


Property ownership is already a hassle even before the legal side kicks in. Learn your rights and protect your assets by contacting Onyx Group Legal today for a free consultation. Our team is ready to provide the knowledge and advice that will ensure you understand and protect your rights as a landlord.



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