What Are The Red Flags In Potential Tenants?

You will quickly find that when it comes down to it, reviewing applications and interviewing prospective tenants is a lot like hiring someone for a job. You’ll have many candidates, and not all of them will turn out to be the right ones for your property. The secret to it is to separate the good from the bad and be attentive to the red flags they might be waving at you.

But what are some of the red flags you can spot in potential candidates? Keep reading this article to find out!


Your home is one of your most valuable assets, and if you are planning on renting it out to someone you don’t know, you must cover your bases to be certain that the tenant in question is a friendly, responsible, and also honest person. You should always stick by these basic requirements to ensure a profitable, stress-free business.

You can find out much from tenant background checks, but not everything. You will learn in your experience as a landlord that candidates who lie to you are not worth your time at the end of the day. If your research discovers that a tenant lied on their application, whether by providing false employment history, fake references, or inaccurate income estimates, it’s best to cut them loose, as you don’t want a dishonest person living on your property.

Problems With Their Previous Landlord

A huge renter red flag is finding out they had problems with their previous landlords or property managers. When you contact the last landlord or manager they had, ask if the renters were on time with their payments, if they were disruptive in any way, hard to communicate with, or noncooperative.

Doing this from the beginning gives you the opportunity to ask about any issues and, after get the tenants’ side as well and make a fair decision. These simple questions for both parties can benefit you in the long run by staying informed from the early stages in order to avoid disputes with the tenants or even legal issues.

Negative Rental History And Eviction Records

A history of negative rental experiences or eviction records should raise concerns when evaluating potential candidates. Instances of previous eviction, complaints of earlier landlords, or a pattern of late rent payments can indicate difficulties in the future. 

As we’ve discussed above, you should conduct thorough background checks, contact previous landlords for references, and inquire about any past rental issues to ensure you are selecting tenants who will uphold their tenant obligations.

Poor Credit Score

A landlord’s first need is in finding a candidate who will be able to uphold the rent rates on time every month without any prodding. Your best chance of finding such a tenant is to run a credit check on all of your applicants right off the bat.

However, first, you need to remember that your potential renter has to consent to a credit check for you to legally run one on them. Someone who is unwilling to consent to a credit check, though, is showing you another red flag you should be cautious of. If they don’t want you to see their credit history, chances are they have something to hide. 

Inability To Provide Required Documentation

Tenants who are unable or unwilling to provide the necessary documentation, such as identification, proof of income, or references, should raise concerns. Failure to provide these documents can indicate a lack of preparedness or potential issues in their background that they are trying to conceal.

A potential tenant’s unwillingness to comply with standard screening procedures may be an indication of future difficulties in working together and should raise some concerns. 


Pay attention to a prospect’s communication skills and responsiveness during the application process. Delayed responses, frequent miscommunication, or difficulty in understanding instructions can indicate potential difficulties in ongoing communication. 

Effective communication is vital for maintaining a healthy landlord-tenant relationship, and signs of poor communication skills should be considered red flags. So if you want smooth sailing through the rental business, you should keep an eye open for these signs that could indicate little cooperation.

Unfavorable Behavior

Observing unfavorable behavior or poor communication skills, as mentioned above, during the screening process can serve as red flags for potential tenants. Rude or disrespectful behavior towards property staff, excessive demands or unrealistic expectations, and a lack of clear and prompt communication can be indicators of potential issues in the future.

Pay close attention to how potential renters carry themselves and interact with you and others during the application process to gauge their professionalism and suitability for tenancy.


While bad tenants may not carry a sign and physically wave a red flag in your face, you can screen for red flags when you show the property and keep an eye wide open at the same time.

A property manager can aid you in this process since they are skilled and knowledgeable professionals who know what to look for when it comes to red flags. You can always leverage their expertise to ensure you have a profitable, stress-free property rental experience.

Get in touch with us today and learn more about our services.



Table of Contents