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What is a professional renter and how can I avoid them?

by Rhenti on

Professional renters are people who know the laws surrounding the rental system incredibly well and use that knowledge to get away with not paying rent. These types of renters will often withhold paying rent over small issues, and when a landlord attempts to evict them, respond with counterclaims to slow down the legal process and continue living in the property without paying rent. This can turn into a nightmare situation, so we want to help you avoid it at all costs.

Some signs that someone may be a professional renter:

Not all professional renters behave in the same way, but below are some commonly shared traits.

  • The history of where they have lived has unexplained gaps, broken lease agreements, and evictions
  • Legal gripes with previous landlords
  • Bad credit score or debt that has gone to collections
  • Phony references
  • Bad references
  • They pay rent late
  • They move frequently
  • Minimal employment references
  • Prefer to pay with cash (to avoid a paper trail)
  • Tendency to heavily blame previous landlords for events that have gone wrong

How damaging can a professional renter be to a property?

Unpaid rent (in some instances) can make it impossible for a landlord to keep up with their mortgage payments, and might force them to sell their property. Unpaid rent, and associated costs (e.g. fees for legal services) can really add up.

What should I do to avoid professional renters?

Carefully screening applicants is an essential step when finding the right tenants, and the following should be done in order to best avoid renting to a professional tenant.

  1. Use Rhenti's platform: Rhenti connects property owners with more qualified renters more than any other way. From credit checks, employment docs, and references, Rhenti's unified marketing automation and transaction tools provide full visibility into each applicant, so you can feel confident about renting your property. Say goodbye to the friction and stress of the leasing process.
  2. Run a credit check : A credit check will allow you to see a prospective tenant’s list of debts and history of bill payments in order to get a better sense of their ability to pay rent on time and in full. You are allowed to decide not to rent to someone based on their credit history.

    Credit scores in Canada range from 300 - 900 and the average credit score is 667. Anything above this number makes it easier for people to qualify for products like credit cards, loans, mortgages and overdraft protection. According to TransUnion, credit scores between 661 and 700 are considered ‘good’, while achieving a high credit score of 850 is most desirable. You can easily run a credit check using Rhenti's software
  3. Check if they have a stable income: Ask rental applicants for their employment history to see pay stubs and contact their current employer to ensure they are steadily employed and to verify their income.  When you use Rhenti, you can easily get this important information from all of your applicants.
  4. Run a criminal background check: With an applicant’s permission, you can run a criminal background check on them. You guessed it. When you use Rhenti, you can easily run a background check on your rental applicants.
  5. Verify an applicant's identity: Ask to see a potential tenant’s passport or driver’s license to help ensure they aren’t using a false identity.
  6. Discuss their rental history: If an applicant has unexplained gaps in their rental history, ask them the reason why. If their rental history seems like they are hopping from place to place, that could be a red flag.
  7. Reference checks: Contact all of their references and ask for references specifically from previous landlords. This is a really important step as it will help paint a picture of what kind of tenant they are. Ask previous landlords what condition they left the unit in, if they would ever rent to the tenant again, and if they paid rent on time and in full.

With these 7 screening tips and Rhenti's platform, you have all the tools to find the right renter and rest easy. Rhenti’s comprehensive renter profiles and digital application forms will help you ask the right questions and make the right renter decision. Reach out to our team to learn more.

The blog posts on this website are for the purpose of general introductory information. They can’t serve as an opinion or professional advice. Speak to a professional before making decisions related to your circumstances.

Discover more property owner insight at Rhenti blog