Tenant ScreeningEveryone needs a place to live.  This fact alone makes real estate investing one of the best full or part-time business ideas for people looking to generate residual income.  This comes with various risks, however, and landlords and property managers who don’t conduct proper tenant screening could end up dealing with nightmare scenarios.

A former property manager from Washington, D.C. posted this rant about a problem tenant some while ago:

“We had a tenant who had issues and liked to start problems.  We believed at the time she may have been a prostitute and drug and alcohol abuser.  We tried everything to get her evicted, but because D.C. is so tenant friendly, it was impossible.  When she got mad at our office she would turn on her water, block the drain, and flood the apartments below her – she lived on the third floor. She did this three times in six months.  We were left to pay for and clean up the damage and we still couldn’t evict her.  One day she got into an argument with a gentleman outside of her apartment door, in the hallway.  It turned physical and she pushed the man over the railing.  He ended up dying.  Still, we couldn’t evict her.”

There is no way for us to verify this story, but if you are a landlord or property manager and you are not properly screening your potential tenants you are taking a big risk.

Tenant screening ensures that all of the tenants in your rental property have great rental histories, and that they will pay their rent on time, rent for long periods of time, keep the rental unit in optimal condition and be good neighbors.  Landlords and property managers who want to avoid the problems that come with bad tenants should consider running a credit report with FICO score, an eviction database check, as well as a criminal background check on all prospective tenants before renting.

If you are still not convinced that tenant screening is important, you may also enjoy reading Another Tenants from Hell Story.