Posted by Peggy Farber on 8/9/2017

Bad tenants do more than ruin a house. Bad tenants can have a negative effect on an entire neighborhood. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to determine how responsible and upstanding house renters are.

In fact, at the outset, you might think that the couple who stops by to ask about renting your house are in good financial, social and legal standing. It's hard to tell if people are being dishonest just by looking at them, especially if you connect quality attire with good behavior.

Signs that you're renting to bad house tenants

By the time you realize that you've rented your house to the wrong people, it could be too late. Pay attention the following signs before you rent to sidestep landlord regret:

  • Habit of paying rent late (bad tenants won't only regularly pay rent late, they may also give you one excuse after another each time they pay you late)
  • Property damage that ranges from ripped carpet, badly scratched wood floors, busted pipes and the old familiar, wall holes
  • Complaints from neighbors about loud noises arguments and physical altercations that occur at the house that you're renting
  • Broken or cracked windows
  • Loose kitchen or bathroom cabinets, including cabinet doors that are barely hanging on their hinges
  • More weeds than grass in the front and back yard

Learning more about house renters

You're probably going to need help discovering exactly who you are about to rent your house to. Much of that help is at your fingertips. Some of the assistance comes at a price. Included among both are:

  • Running a thorough credit check on potential house renters (run a check on all three major credit bureaus at the least)
  • Paying for a thorough criminal background check  on tenants, the same as apartment leasing office do
  • Asking future house renters to give you proof of employment
  • Setting clear guidelines on what tenants can and cannot do at your property (for example, you might state that tenants cannot have overnight guests for longer than two weeks without your written permission)

Protecting yourself from bad tenants

When you rent your house to other people think of it as actually selling your house to someone. Sure. You still own the house when you rent, but tenants are going to have nearly as much impact on your house, including the condition of your house, as you would if you lived at the property.

Late rent payments are just the beginning when it comes to dealing with bad tenants. Rent to bad tenants and you could end up paying to repair holes in walls, patchy lawns and stained carpet. You might also have to meet with neighbors and apologize for their having to put up with loud noises and debris that bad tenants created.

Although there is no way to guarantee that tenants will be courteous, friendly and responsible, there are things that you could do to raise the chances that people you rent your house to won't leave you with headaches. A background check, credit review and speaking with the prospective tenants' current neighbors is a good start.

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