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What are “professional tenants”, and how can you avoid them?

Do you know those incredibly argumentative tenants: the ones who withhold rent to get their way and act as if they’re the only people that matter in your whole building? Because many landlords have had to deal with one or two of these irresponsible renters, they’ve actually been given a proper title. They’re called professional tenants, and they’re probably not afraid to point out every single issue they have with you and your property, no matter how small, to try and get out of rent payments.

Though for some landlords, professional tenants are minor annoyances, that’s not the case with all of them. Some will go to extreme lengths to accuse their landlord of forcing them to live in uninhabitable spaces (like wrecking the property) in order to withhold months of rent. Landlords at this point not only have to put up with headaches, they may also be missing out on earning their monthly livelihood or be unable to make mortgage payments on their property. Take this difficult tenant in Toronto, who by the end of his tenancy, owed his landlord $25,000 in missed rent payments and fees. Absurd!

Professional tenants are a serious problem that, if you know what to watch for, you’ll really reduce your risk of having to deal with. These are some preventative measures you can take to avoid professional tenants.

Attract the Right Types of Tenants from the Get-Go

Ensure your for-rent ads are all written in a way that will deter crooked tenants from even applying to rent your unit or requesting a viewing. Professional tenants do not want to go through the hassle of a tenant reference check or offering their identification and credit history. They’re searching for landlords who they can charm into believing they will respect due dates and take care of the unit. By listing how stringent your application process is, you’re essentially warning professional tenants that you will do your homework into their rental history and you will find out their true intentions before renting to them. They’ll know you mean business and be deterred from even getting in contact with you.

Screen, Screen, Screen

We can’t stress enough how important it is you perform a thorough background and credit check on your prospective tenants. Though someone may be well-put-together in their interactions with you and come off as responsible and respectable, there are definitely some individuals whose history can be hidden by their persona. A credit check will prove to you whether they’ve missed bill or rent payments in the past. If they’ve missed many, it’s safe to say you’ll probably have to deal with missed payments too. If you’re given poor references from past landlords, again, it’s probably something you’ll be faced with as well.

Collect Rent via Automatic Payments

Cheques have long been a standard for rent payment between landlords and tenants. However, there are now so many safer options for both parties involved. Using a secure payment system that allows for email transfers and debit or credit transactions will help you avoid the dreaded bounced cheque that costs you money and takes time to try to rectify with your tenant.

No matter how hard you try, a difficult tenant may slip through the cracks, but practicing the above suggestions will help you avoid most professional tenants out there. If you require assistance with your tenant screening solution, Certn has the answer for you. Our tenant screening is perfect for landlords trying to fill multiple units who don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly background check every applicant that comes their way. Contact us today to request a demo or consultation!