Funniest Tenant Screening Stories

This guest post is from Endre Rex-Kiss, an online marketing, social media and human resource enthusiast. He currently represents FidelisAM, a US based agency providing employment and resident screening services. Follow his occasional guest blogging activities on Twitter.

Tenant screenings is the way to go if you want quality tenants and most landlords come across potential tenants who are either not what they claim to be or have serious behavioral problems. This article takes a look at the funniest screening stories landlords have had and their aftermaths. So sit down, relax or better still grab a cold bottle of beer to nurse while you go through the experiences below.

The Estranged Wife

A couple with no kids moved into a 4 bedroom duplex in the suburbs, the house and environment provided the perfect scenery for the couple but there was only one problem and it was that of meeting up with their mortgage payments. So they decided to put a room up for rent. The necessary adverts were created and finally a prospective client came knocking, he was the perfect tenant for he claimed to be single, had no pets, did not smoke, drink, do drugs and had a well-paying job. This obviously was too good to be true so the couple decided to hire an agent to conduct a little screening on him. After two days, the agent returned to tell the couple that they had been invited to have dinner with the previous landlord of their prospective tenant. On getting there, they were told that the tenant usually preys on sympathetic landlords and if you fall into his trap by renting a room to him, he would move in, behave for some days but a week later a woman who would claim to be his estranged wife would come visiting for some time and then finally move in with a cat. They would then proceed to co-habit like pigs, steal your property and when rent is due, disappear like thieves in the middle of the night.

Ghost Tenants

A couple responded to a landlord’s accommodation advert, they came to see the Landlord and professed that they loved the apartment and would be willing to rent it for the long term. The landlord was convinced that they were the perfect tenants so when the wife came calling the next day without her husband (due to the supposed fact that he works late) to ask for the keys to the apartment so she could look through it, the landlord duly obliged. A day passed, the lady did not return, two passed and she was still missing. The landlord quickly called his agent who conducted a quick search only to find out that the woman and her husband had already moved into the apartment. The police was called and the couple quickly evicted.

Dead beat Prospective Tenant

An agent once recommended a tenant who had the best recommendations ever; he had a good job, perfect credit and good relationships with his previous landlords. A meeting day was fixed and the prospective client shows up with a dead beat car and the attitude of someone who was one step ahead of the law. The landlord who needed to rent his facility out as soon as possible, overlooked this tell-tale signs and had agreed to lease the apartment to the tenant. The recommended signatures had already been traded and an upfront deposit had been made but as luck would have it, a police officer who was driving randomly through the neighborhood spotted the prospective tenant, felt his face was familiar and got down to trade some questions. Suddenly, the tenant bolted and a foot race began. The tenant was finally apprehended and the landlord discovered that the name, details and personal information given by his perfect tenant had nothing in common with the tenant.

The Thief

A couple came with an agent to view a landlords property, after going through it, they decided it was perfect and would be signing the necessary papers the following day but there was just one issue, they needed the house repainted. The landlord obliged, carried the necessary equipment to the house and started painting. He painted into the night and decided to spend the night there instead of returning home late. In the middle of the night, he began to hear strange noises at the side of the house, quickly he got up to investigate and on getting there, he found his prospective tenant trying to detach an A/C unit.

These stories show that conducting an in-depth screening which should include: former landlord credit checks, recommendations and past criminal activities are highly recommended.

Upcoming Speaking Engagement – Terry Sprouse (author of Fix em Up Rent em Out)

I will be making a presentation to the Arizona Network of Real Estate Investors. Mark your calendars.

Fidelity National Title, 6760 N. Oracle Road, Suite 100, Tucson, AZ

June 7th, 2012

Meeting begins at 5:30 pm, presentation at 6:00 pm

Title: The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money & Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

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4 Responses to “Funniest Tenant Screening Stories”

  1. marcus ochoa says:

    Tenant Screening

    Tenant screening is an important part process that any landlord/landlady should endeavor to carefully undertake so as to ensure that their properties are rented to the best possible and most suitable of clients. This screening process as such will require that certain steps be undertaken.
    Tenant Background Check

    The most important step in this process is the tenant background check. This may begin with a simple telephone interview, during which the landlord asks questions of the prospective tenant while making notes that will be later attached to the tenant’s file should he or she be granted rental of leasing of the property.

    Questions that should be asked during this interview process include reasons for interest in that particular property, how many persons (and possibly of what age, parents, children, teenagers, the aged etc) will be occupying the desired property and for how long. From the perspective of the landlord/landlady, the longer a person wishes to occupy the property, the more convenient the rental or leasing of the property to such a person is.

    Other questions should allow the prospective tenant to divulge information concerning work/employment history and the like as this will help to provide information regarding the tenant’s ability to commit and adhere to leasing the property for the agreed time and price.

    After undergoing this process with all the prospective clients and creating a file for each of the same, the landlord/landlady would do well to go through each of these files carefully and determine the best suited candidates to occupy the property. After determining the most suitable candidates these candidates should be put on a short list to later view the property in question.
    Viewing the Property

    After the short list is created and the candidates have been contacted, landlords/landladies should consider the following guide to help decipher who the property will be rented or leased to. The property may be shown to the prospective tenants individually or as a group. Having property viewing in a group may work in favor of the landlord/landlady as it puts more pressure on the prospective tenants and could possibly prevent them from using underhanded tactics to try and bargain for a lower rental price. The group option may also save the landlord some time. On the other hand, group viewing may be off putting to some suitable candidates and should be considered carefully. In the end however, the choice of a group or individual viewing of the property is dependent on the personal preferences of the property owner.

    Some things to consider at the property viewing include how punctual a tenant may or may not be and how they have presented themselves in dress, speech and overall mannerisms. For example, is the prospective tenant polite and courteous or is he or she disrespectful and rude? Does he or she ask pertinent questions, or does he or she find fault unjustly in an effort to get a lower rental price? These are some of the questions that will help property owners to properly screen prospective tenants and determine suitability.
    Make a Template

    For the tenant screening process, property owners should consider all these steps and define a template that is aligned with his or her conditions of rental/leasing. This will help in objectively deciding on the candidate that is the best fit for occupying the property. It will also save property owners a lot of hassle and headache as it provides perspective which in the end helps to keep one from being subjective in his or choices regarding the prospective client.

  2. admin says:


    Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    It pays for the landlord to have a logical and consistent plan for selecting tenants.

    Have you ever had any problem tenants that slipped through your system?

  3. […] Quirky tenants, of course, are better than out-and-out bad tenants who won’t take care of the house and don’t pay on time. I’ll take quirky any day. In either case, it’s always comforting to remember that whoever occupies your house is ultimately helping you to achieve your goals of financial independence. Each day that you have a tenant in the house, they pay off part of your mortgage, you clear a certain amount from the rental payment, and the value of your house goes up an average of 5% each year. (Well, it doesn’t go up 5% per year these days, but that’s the 30-year average. And, we have to be grateful for the big boost in equity that we received in the 2005-2006 housing boom.) […]

  4. […] this incident seems humorous to us today (in a Douglas Adams-ish way), it was such an extreme case of violation of tenants’ privacy that […]

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