Professionalism is usually a good thing but not when it comes to tenants. So-called professional tenants can be a nightmare. These are renters who know their way around laws related to tenants, landlords, and rental property. They use their knowledge to manipulate the system to their advantage. They will find legal reasons to withhold rental payments or to drag out an eviction process. They also know how to bear down on a landlord to get them to spend money to repair an imagined or exaggerated problem. Their tricks are well known by professional Atlanta property management companies who know how to handle them.
The Damage Professional Renters Cause
One way a professional tenant causes damage is by cheating the system—or at least trying to. They do this by withholding rent until repairs are done. Or, they insist on making cash payments whose paper trail may get lost. Others may pay only partial rent with a flimsy reason or they may give sobs stories such as being recently bereaved or facing hefty medical bills they are struggling with. Others still avoid paying late rent payment fees by promising it will be paid with the next month's rent. It never happens.
Spotting a Professional Tenant
To avoid these and other problems that professional tenants cause, it is important to be able to spot them. Experienced property managers, such as those at Renter's Warehouse Atlanta, a leading Atlanta property management company, can spot them fast. One way this is done is with strict tenant application criteria even before tenant screening is done.
These criteria are enforced to catch professional tenants even before they can pull their tricks out of the hat. One thing they are good at is hiding their sketchy credit history. One criterion to avoid this is that applications are not allowed from those with derogatory reporting within the last five years. Another is that an applicant should not have derogatory rental reporting in the last seven years including evictions or outstanding balances owed to landlords.
Avoiding Professional Renters
Successful applicants then go through thorough tenant screening. One reason that Renter's Warehouse Atlanta is regarded as the Atlanta property management service of choice is that it does thorough tenant screening. It is done by an investigation firm that has specialized experience in tenant screening. They will know where to dig to find the dirt that professional renters can hide very well. The screening will include;
- Verifying the source and amount of income an applicant earns. This will indicate whether they can afford the rent. The check will include confirming if an applicant works where they say they work and how much they earn.
- Checking creditworthiness that looks beyond the credit score. Evictions, a history of late rent payments, delinquent accounts, bankruptcies, or judgments will be investigated.
- Possible criminal backgrounds are also investigated. This is done to block applicants accused of or convicted of violent or sexual crimes.
- An applicant's rental history is also important. Frequent moving with a plausible explanation that can be verified is checked.
- References are requested more so from previous landlords. The investigating company will call each one of them to verify the conduct of the applicant while they lived there.
While conducting rental applicant checks, it is important to adhere to Georgia Fair Housing laws. Violating them could leave a property owner in a situation where they are facing a lawsuit for turning down a rental application. It is important to avoid turning down applicants because of their race, color, country of origin, creed, religion, marital status, gender, or gender identity. Neither should applicants be turned down because of their familial status or disability. Renter's Warehouse Atlanta adheres to a Fair Housing Policy.
Getting Rid of Professional Tenants
Despite your best efforts to do thorough tenant screening, you may still end up with a professional tenant. In that case, you have a few options. One is to evict them. This should be done with complete and careful consideration of the law to avoid an unlawful eviction lawsuit. Patience must be exercised even if a tenant is annoying and frustrating. Otherwise, a landlord may find the book being thrown at them for unlawful eviction.
Prevent Rather than Cure with an Experienced Property Management Company
It is said that prevention is better than cure and that is certainly true when it comes to real estate. It is best to avoid professional tenants rather than try to get rid of them. Your best bet for doing this is by engaging a credible Atlanta property management company. They will prevent the problem of professional tenants in other ways apart from the strict rental application criteria and thorough tenant screening. The company will also conduct informal interviews during showings to get more information about a potential tenant. They will follow protocol and avoid potential pitfalls such as cash payments. Renter's Warehouse Atlanta takes online rent payments.
Renter's Warehouse Atlanta has taken it further by offering a tenant match and warranty process to completely filter out professional tenants. Property owners also get a rent default program that cushions them from loss of income as a result of defaulted payments. If you're ready to learn more about choosing the right property management company for the job, download our free guide to help you do just that!