Avoiding eviction or Red Flags

Avoiding eviction is a subject that is interesting to both the tenant and to the landlord. For the landlord, it is important to always screen tenants in advance, in order to try to plan in advance for avoiding eviction later on. For the tenant, avoiding eviction usually means preventing the landlord from winning an eviction case once the eviction forms have been filed.

For the landlord, there are red flags that should tell you that a potential tenant is a high risk for subsequent eviction. These are the some red flags that will give away potentially bad tenants. Watch out for these red flags, and feel free to let us know what other ones you notice over time.

1. One of the biggest red flags is when a mother brings her daughter with her to look at a property.

The daughter will be the tenant, and the mother does not live very far away.

Women don't usually want their daughters to leave home. Normally daughters move out of the house on their own, over the objection of their mothers.

So when the mother is looking to move the daughter out of the house, ask yourself why.

Mother and daughter normally both will hide the actual reason and you will find it our later, if you do not do a proper screening.

2. Current landlord is looking for a new place for his/her tenant. 

Ask yourself why would a landlord want his great tenant out so badly that he is taking time to find a new place for that tenant?

Tip: Whenever a potential tenant inspects a property and brings other people along, talk with those other people and learn about their relationship with the potential tenant. If the friend is a current landlord, then be careful.

3. Unemployed, or only recently employed.

Someone who does not have a job, but wants to rent a home, has not normally been a good bet.

No job, indicating the possibility that nobody wants to work with the person, coupled with no place to live, indicating the possibility that nobody wants to live with the person, has been risky.

Recently employed people can be temporarily employed. The employment history of these people should be checked.

Tip: Be careful, former employers might be nervous about being sued if they tell you the truth about a bad employee.

The same goes for former landlords. Some potential tenants will give you the number of a friend and tell you that it is the number of a former landlord, or former employer.

You call, and get a glowing report about the tenant, then find out later in your eviction case that you were actually talking to the tenants former cellmate.

4. No security deposit. 

Tenants who ask if they can pay the security deposit in installments.

What happened to the security deposit from their last home?

Why can't they borrow money from a friend or relative?


5. Tenants who lie to you about anything during the application process. 

There is always a reason for lying on the initial application. Also, it can be expensive and time consuming for you to investigate the reason for the lies.

Tenants who lie are a problem. They expect that lies are a form of currency that can be used for rent payment.

6. "High standard" tenants. 

Tenants who seem to have high standards for the condition of the property. This is a tenant who will ask you to install new flooring, or to replace faucets and other fixtures for example, prior to initiation of the tenancy, because this tenant has the highest standards, and "always keeps their residence in the best and cleanest of condition."

This kind of talk seems to be compensation behavior. Property condition is an issue for this tenant, and the tenant wants you to believe the opposite of what is about to be done to your property.

These tenants seem particularly disrespectful and destructive to the residence once they get possession of it.

Getting you to spend extra money at the beginning is the first step toward bankrupting you, and using some imperfection in the property as an excuse for non-payment of rent.

This tenant is completely unrelated to the tenant who offers to replace something at his own expense after already occupying the property.

7. Eviction shown on the credit report. 

I have never seen or heard of a formerly evicted person who has turned out to be a good tenant.

You can end up renting to this tenant because your friend or a good tenant recommends him/her, and vouches for his/her good reputation and character.

Sometimes this kind of tenant convinces you that he/she wasn't actually evicted, but instead was the victim of some mix-up in paperwork.