For unsuspecting Atlanta rental property owners, a professional tenant is not always easy to spot. Maybe the first red flag was when they paid in cash or did not have the requested number of references. Perhaps it was the lack of rental history as they stated they only lived with relatives and friends. Allowing renters to move into your property after seeing these types of things during your approval process can soon lead to your worst tenant nightmares!
If any of this already sounds familiar, you've probably dealt with a professional tenant. Before you make a mistake in handling them, here's what rental property owners can do with expert Atlanta property management company insights.
What is a Professional Tenant?
A professional tenant is a renter who never intends to move into your property, pay the rent on time, take care of your property, and become a long-term resident that you want to renew the lease. This type of tenant preys on property owners and has no intention of being responsible.
They look like they will be excellent residents during the application and review process. They present well, answer common questions with responses that sound appropriate, and are agreeable and very interested in being your next resident. However, once they move in, they turn into terrible residents. They never pay the rent, don't take care of your rental (or cause intentional damage), and refuse to follow the rules. When it's time to enforce the lease, they refuse to leave—or in some instances, they disappear overnight, leaving you with an expensive mess and lost rental income.
You'll find professional tenants very knowledgeable about rental laws and policies. They might try to tempt you with offers of paying cash for the security deposit and the first month's rent—if you'll skip the screening process and let them move in right away. These renters go from property to property and owner to owner, repeating their behavior and leaving disasters behind.
How Bad Can They Be?
Cash upfront sounds pretty good, even if they're not the "best" residents, right? Before you accept the offer of cash or skip the screening process because an applicant looks good on paper and in person, consider these risks for your rentals and income when a professional tenant moves in:
- A tenant has parties that cause noise violations. However, they blame other neighbors or harass those that complain. It can lead to arguments and calls to the police.
- They may smoke marijuana and disrupt the other neighbors. If confronted, they may state that they have a legal right to smoke because it is "medicinal—"even though it's a lease violation.
- They may intentionally withhold the rent, which could lead you to an expensive lawsuit to collect past due rent money and late fees.
- They may damage the property and blame others or say they are not at fault. Some will even cause damage but sue the owner in fake slip and fall incidents, for example.
- They may call the police and state that you are discriminating against them when you ask for unpaid rent.
- They may abuse the appliances, which causes them to break down and require costly repairs.
Atlanta GA real estate investors can avoid professional tenants with a thorough screening process! If you already have one living in a rental property, work with a property manager and your legal counsel to minimize income loss, avoid lawsuits (from the tenant), and resolve the situation.
Tips for Avoiding Professional Tenants
When you start looking for potential applicants for your home, a careful screening process can help you find the right renters. A screening process also helps investors avoid potentially bad or professional residents.
When running a potential tenant through your review process, look for:
- No references or a lack of credible references you can reach
- A history of evictions
- Poor credit scores and history
- Bankruptcies or defaults
- Long gaps in rental history
- An incorrect social security number or other information
- Fake employment history
- Incomplete information or paperwork
Professional renters don't want residential property owners to dig into their pasts to raise red flags. To keep these issues from coming to light, they may not give accurate references. Work with a property manager to protect your Atlanta rental homes from professional tenants. With the right experts, investors don't have to worry about bad residents that don't pay the rent, cause property damage, or refuse to leave after breaking the rules.
The Right Atlanta Property Management Team Places Quality Renters (and Handles Professional Tenants)
Spotting professional tenants isn't easy, but a landlord is wise to apply a thorough screening process and keep these terrible residents out of their Atlanta rentals. If you're not sure what to look for in a good renter (or a bad potential resident), Revolution Rental Management is here to help!
Our screening process is far more comprehensive than what we’ve found used by other local managers and DIY property owners. We work hard to place quality residents who pay the rent on time, take excellent care of your rentals, and often renew their leases. When you're ready to experience better quality residents and boost returns, let's talk!
Learn more about what to expect from an excellent property manager! Download our free eBook, "The Guide to Finding the Best Atlanta Property Management Company."