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How Palm Springs Owners Can Spot (and Avoid) a Professional Tenant

Bad Guy

When renting out a property, owners need residents who will take care of the place and treat it like their own. Unfortunately, sometimes a tenant will seem like the perfect candidate during the interview process—only to find out a couple of months down the road that they aren’t who they appeared to be before moving in. These renters are often called “professional” tenants.

One way to ensure that you don’t end up with these terrible renters is by avoiding them in the first place. The best property management company Palm Springs offers can help landlords find great tenants and turn them into long-term renters while avoiding problem residents. This blog will discuss what a professional tenant is, how to spot them, and outline some tips to avoid them before you rent to them!

What Is a Professional Renter?

Many property management companies know that a professional renter is someone who signs a lease without ever intending to be a good resident or pay the rent they owe. They bring landlords nothing but headaches, sometimes taking them through a lengthy eviction procedure and leaving the rental property owner with months of unpaid rent and property damage. 

Bad Guy

Professional renters will often move into a rental property, identify the most minor problems to complain about, and threaten to withhold rent whenever a problem arises. If a professional tenant is served with an eviction notice, they immediately counterclaim to defend themselves. In some cases, a professional tenant will have fled by the time a landlord has finished the eviction process. 

How Do Professional Tenants Cause Problems?

“Professional” tenants are very good at what they do. Chances are, if you’re dealing with one now, you’re not the first property owner they’ve tried to take advantage of. These renters are more than “just” a lousy renter—a professional tenant knows how to skirt the rules and regulations without regard to the property owner or rental properties. 

Property managers can tell you about some of the signs of a professional resident, including: 

  • Partial rent payments. These renters often pay only a portion of their monthly rent. In California, a tenant can be evicted if they don’t pay the total amount. Still, a professional tenant can use the excuse of paying “some” rent to buy more time in the rental unit. 
  • Only pay rent in cash. Professional tenants prefer cash since it’s impossible to track whether they truly paid their rent or not. Cash payments are also a way to avoid the employment and income verification steps during the tenant screening process. 
  • Avoiding late fees. When a professional renter fails to pay their rent on time, they may simply pay the rent amount and promise to pay the late fees at a later date. If a  lease agreement has defined the late fees, and the property owner fails to enforce them, this indicates to a renter that the rules are flexible with leeway to bend them.
  • Making wild accusations about the rental property. Professional tenants are notorious for making useless maintenance requests and pretending there’s a problem with the property. They may even make a wild claim that the rental home is uninhabitable, using these claims as a way to avoid paying the rent altogether. 

Even when these terrible residents make unsubstantiated claims, a property owner is responsible for ensuring a property is habitableWhether you have a professional renter or not, property management companies can keep up with maintenance requests and the proper documentation for rental property owners.

How to Spot a Professional Renter

What should property owners look for when identifying one of these problematic residents? While it may be difficult to spot a professional tenant, a property management company can help identify some red flags, including:

  • A history of evictions, court cases, and delinquent rent payments
  • Applicants that want to prove they’re experts in real estate law and property management
  • A sketchy financial past littered with bankruptcies, collections, and bad credit history
  • Unexplained gaps in their rental history
  • Fake references, both from personal acquaintances and former landlords

If you notice any of these signs during the tenant screening process, it’s okay to deny the applicant and find a more qualified tenant for your rental property. 

Partner With an Experienced Property Management Team

What does a property manager do? The right property management company helps spot a professional renter before moving in! Good residents help property owners avoid costly legal issues and lost rental income—but they’re not always easy to find without the right resources.

young couple enjoy and celebrating moving to new home

If you’re looking for help with your rental property and tenant screening process, let us know. McLean Company has the experience that real estate investors need to avoid bad residents and benefit from quality renters to maximize returns. With our professional property management services, property owners reduce risks, experience professional maintenance services, improve on-time rent collection, and avoid evictions. Reach out soon to speak with one of our experienced property managers!

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