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November 21, 2017

Renting properties has become a more prolific business as of late. And if you have an empty home or apartment, it’s always better to have someone look after it for you and pay for utilities, instead of it rotting away. Not to mention you’ll be giving someone a roof over their head. However, some tenants can take advantage of that and even make your contract void. So here are seven signs to look out for.

1. The Rent is Late

First and foremost – the rent is late. Considering that you’ve prepared a contract in which you clearly state the date for the rent payment every month, if your tenant rarely (if ever), gets the rent ready and paid out on a set date every month, they are essentially disrespecting the deal between two law abiding citizens. Maybe it’s a few days late or maybe even a few months. This kind of behavior shows that the person doesn’t treat your agreement or contract as a formal one, but a casual arrangement that they can work around.

2. People Stay Over Longer

You are hearing rumors or finding evidence that your tenants are having people over. While this can be a regular occurrence, for example, when a family member visits or their partners stay over, some tend to overstay their welcome. There needs to be a point in the contract where you will determine how long a person may stay in your apartment as your tenant’s guest. Anything longer than that should require an additional fee on top of the rent.

3. False Information

There are tenants who give false information on their applications. As silly as it may sound, there are applicants who know that the landlords won’t choose them based on their unemployed state, history with prior landlords, or even a criminal record. Screen each application with care and always run background checks. These kinds of scams can be a little harder to spot, which is why a thorough research, a few calls – to the bank, their company or even to the police department will alleviate any doubts you might have.

4.Talk to your Neighbors

One of the best ways to know how your tenants are behaving and whether or not they’re trying to take advantage of you is to befriend your neighbors. Of course, if you haven’t already. Without actually having to monitor your property, neighbors will notice if there’s partying you didn’t allow, if they invited someone to stay with them longer than your contract allows or if they made some damage to the house and not reported it. Nurture a healthy relationship in which they will naturally come to you if they spot something out of the ordinary or if you’re having doubts and need a second pair of eyes.

5. Avoidance

A cause for some doubt that your tenants are taking advantage of you is avoidance. They almost never answer the phone, refuse to meet with you under the pretence of being too busy, cancel meetings and don’t allow you to check on the house every once in a while. This can be a red flag, and you might want to take some steps to see what exactly is going on. The odds of it being something illegal are slim, but it could be indicative of your tenants not wanting to pay the rent, or hiding a problem they know could get them evicted.

6. They Won’t Move Out

Last, but not least, the tenants refuse to move out. There is no subtle indication, or a hint before it happens. One day, when you decide to take the rent, they simply announce wanting to stay, maybe managing to find a loophole in your contract or property papers that can wager in their favor, should you take this to court. More often than not, the law will be in their favor, unless you have a strong contract and a great lawyer. If something like this happens, there are plenty of legal mediation services that can help you and your tenants communicate and hopefully find a solution.

7. You Talk to a Different Person Each Time

When you rent your property to a group of people or a family, make sure to designate the main person for negotiations and regular communication. If you often hear the phrase “he/she didn’t tell me you talked” or “he/she said they’d pay the rent”, you have a problem. This adds to your confusion, and the rent again may be late or even missing. Even if they’re not trying to cross you, the tenants are showing a high level of irresponsibility, which alone should have you second-guess them as property renters.


Being a landlord is a tricky business. It requires a lot of bad experiences to perfect your “sixth sense” when it comes to tenants. However, a tight contract, good legal support, and a thorough background check on your applicants gives you a proper head start. Having neighbors as your allies when you start suspecting something can save you a lot of trouble later. Most of all, try to nurture a firm, but trusting relationship with your tenants, to be taken as a professional.

Author Bio: Hannah Thomas is an expert in business innovation and management with a love for writing. She is always eager to learn new things and to share the knowledge she acquired along the way.

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