Professional Tenants Understand the System
If you aren’t familiar with the term, you would think a professional tenant is just someone with no intent on ever owning and intending on staying a tenant forever. Talk to a landlord who has had a professional tenant and it’s an entirely different story.
I don’t know if it’s the state of the economy over the last couple of years, or just how people are changing, but I’m talking to more and more landlords who are dealing with tenants who understand the system so well, they work it to get months of free rent. These tenants have gone pro at abusing the system and using whatever methods they can to take advantage of sympathetic landlords and either avoid being evicted or simply stall and drag out the eviction process and in doing so stay rent free for as long as possible.
Now we aren’t talking people who are simply down on their luck, these are individuals who simply know the system so well they can stall, intimidate and even scare landlords into allowing them to stay longer. And since morals seem, to have little to do with it, they have very little problems lying about anything along the way.
On the simpler side I’ve had landlords tell me of tenants lying in court about receiving eviction notices to the extremes where one tenant had his niece move in (without the landlord’s consent) and told the landlord if he didn’t leave him alone he would have the niece charge him with sexual assault. What type of individual would do that, never mind even think of it?
I now have dozens of different stories I have heard from landlords that range from basement suite tenants disabling water and power to faking medical issues to cause delays. Earlier this week a landlord who lived in the upper suite of his property informed me his basement suite tenant jammed his locks so the landlord couldn’t even get into his own residence!
The problem is once landlords have these types of tenants in place the only option is to go through the process of evicting them. Since they are so well versed on the process they know exactly how to create a string of appeals and objections for the hearing process , and additional stalls and questionable tactics along the way. Without proper coaching, this can result in weeks and months of frustrations and delays before you get control of your property back. (Self promotion time! I do have a guide to evictions available at this site, The Alberta Eviction Process)
You see the biggest problem is they managed to get in the property in the first place. Unfortunately, the majority of the time, this seems to occur to landlords who took shortcuts when it came to filling their vacancies. This could mean not calling all the references, not verifying previous rental history or simply because they tried to help someone out who appeared to be down on their luck. Whatever the case, once they have been let in the property, it’s too late.
Now there is no guarantee by doing all the due diligence prior to letting a tenant in that you still cannot get stuck with one of these professional tenants, but it can drastically reduce the odds of it happening. Even by simply mentioning in your advertisements that you do credit checks will typically be enough to discourage many of them from contacting you. They understand there are easier pickings out there and that is whom they prefer to target.
As a landlord, it is in your best interest to ensure you have the best possible tenants in place and that you do everything to check into the people who will be staying in your property. Good tenants will make being a landlord enjoyable and profitable, bad tenants will just cause you frustration, so do your homework and be a happy landlord!
Investor’s Perspective – Screening Tenants
A bad tenant can cost you a month of rental income, a bad professional tenant can cost you several months and thousands in expenses. It makes the hour or two you have to spend properly screening tenants and completing your due diligence rather inconsequential, doesn’t it.
Not all tenants are out to screw you, in fact the majority are good people and if you have good properties you will find these people or they will find you! Neglecting to properly screen just opens the potential door for the wrong people to enter.
The majority of the stories I see on my eviction site all have to do with tenants who would never have passed a strict screening process. Unfortunately most of the landlords I have talked with let their emotions rule the process rather than the systems and this can be the fastest path to problems for any real estate investor.
If you plan on running your real estate like a business you need to create procedures, checklists and processes that will specifically protect you from bad tenants amongst other things. I’ve already created a free guide to screening tenants for my readers, but I am also working on a new product which will help landlords find quality tenants.I’ll be looking for a few proof readers who will receive free copies of the book/guide, so if this interests you let me know!
I don’t have a time frame for when it will be done, but feel free to pressure me!