Updated May 09, 2022.
When you invest in a property, the last thing you want is a professional tenant. A professional tenant can be a nightmare for property owners by never paying the rent and destroying properties. These renters are worse than most other terrible tenants because they never intend to be good residents!
How can investors recognize professional tenants before losing significant rental income? Luckily, you can hire a Jacksonville property management company to deal with them.
What is a Professional Tenant?
A professional tenant is a person who makes a "career" out of utilizing legal loopholes and technicalities to get out of paying rent for staying in your rental. They will typically have a history of jumping from rental to rental, where they avoid fully paying rent in any of them.
They will use repairs that aren't yet complete to withhold paying the full rent amount until they are done. When you try to evict them, they work the system to avoid leaving your rental property.
They have various legal defenses to respond to all the landlord’s actions, including evictions. By the time the landlord can evict them, they will leave without paying the rent and leave a large mess and significant property damage.
These tenants never intend to pay the rent or follow the lease rules. With that in mind, Jacksonville property owners must recognize the signs of a professional tenant and avoid placing them in rental properties.
What Are the Signs of a Professional Tenant?
During initial conversations and application reviews, these tenants look like they could be ideal residents. They're polite and well-dressed. However, as you run a credit history and attempt to verify employment and speak with references, you'll quickly find that the potential renters you see in front of you are not who they claim to be.
When working through the screening process, you'll see a history of evictions, court cases, defaults, and other issues with their former landlords.
Professional tenants also have an excellent knowledge of real estate and contract law and are often willing to show it—even if you never ask them about it. They might also have gaps in their rental history and will avoid offering any explanation.
As you start interviewing potential residents, watch out for applicants who offer to pay the security deposit and first month's rent in cash. If they offer most cash upfront and ask you to skip the screening process, these are signs of a professional tenant.
Without a screening process, it's difficult to spot these renters before it's too late. Once they move in, Jacksonville investors encounter problems from the start.
How to Avoid Professional Tenants
Avoiding professional tenants is the best way to deal with them! If you don't have a thorough screening process in place, work with a Jacksonville property management company to spot bad renters before they have a chance to move into your investment property.
A thorough screening includes:
- Credit and criminal history
- Employment and income verification
- Reference checks
- Prior rental history
You can learn a great deal about a potential renter by speaking to references and previous landlords. If you're unable to reach these contacts—or their stories about your applicant seem too similar to be "real"—you could be dealing with a professional tenant who made up references to fill in the application.
Credit and criminal history can reveal a pattern of bankruptcies and defaults. If a Jacksonville rental applicant doesn't have verifiable income or employment, beware. They might not have enough income to pay the monthly rent, or they never intend to pay it at all.
Don't Skip the Interview
Whether in-person or virtually, interviewing the applicant personally is paramount. Even if they have all the proper documentation, a face-to-face meeting can reveal much about a person, including whether they are a professional renter or not.
Look out for potential tenants who seem to want to showcase their knowledge about contracts, leases, and other facets of the law. Listen for loopholes in their stories or discrepancies between what they put on the application versus what they say during an interview.
Hire a Property Manager
Dealing with tenant applications and the stress of avoiding bad tenants can be overwhelming when trying to find quality residents on your own. If you're fearful of accidentally placing a professional tenant—or you've dealt with one before and never want to experience that again—let a Jacksonville property management company handle the property marketing, screening, and leasing process for you!
With expert marketing, property managers help reduce the potential of attracting bad tenants. Property managers also have the experience to spot red flags during the screening process and deny applicants who aren't of the highest quality for your rentals.
If you're currently dealing with someone you suspect is a professional tenant, a property manager is your best resource to handle the situation while minimizing financial loss and the potential for a lawsuit.
Professional Jacksonville Property Management Handles Professional Tenants
Professional Jacksonville property management knows how professional tenants attempt to use legal loopholes and trick their way into your rentals! Avoid problem residents with Spectrum Realty Services screening applicants and managing your leasing process.
Learn more about what to look for in the best property manager when you download our free guide! Click below.