8 Different Ways to Detect a Bad Tenant


As a property investor, it’s crucial to carefully screen potential tenants to avoid the pitfalls of having a bad tenant. However, it’s not always easy to detect problematic tenants from the outset. Here are eight different ways to detect a bad tenant: 

  1. Application Blanks and Unanswered Questions: A bad tenant might provide vague answers or leave information blank on the application form. 
  1. Wrong Address Information: Check the addresses provided against their identification copies and utility accounts to ensure that the information matches up. 
  1. Overdue Utility Accounts: If the tenant’s utility accounts are overdue, it could be a warning sign. 
  1. Smelly/Stained Applications (Paper Application): If the application form smells of cigarettes, coffee, or food stains, it could be a red flag. 
  1. Wrong Current Residence Story: If the tenant gives conflicting information about their current residential status, it could be cause for concern. 
  1. Drive-By The Outside of their Current Property: If you have the opportunity, take a drive-by of the tenant’s current residence to see how they’ve maintained the property. 
  1. Default on a Tenancy Default Database: This is a warning sign that only real estate agents can check. Be sure to ask your agent about the databases they use to screen tenants. 
  1. ‘Friends and Family’ Backstory: If a tenant claims to have always lived with friends or family, it’s worth asking more questions to understand their rental history. 

It’s important to note that these warning signs alone may not indicate a bad tenant, but they should raise questions and prompt further investigation. An experienced agent can help you navigate the tenant selection process with ease. 

Remember, “previous behaviour dictates future performance,” so a checkable tenancy history is crucial to selecting the right tenant.