As an Orlando property management provider, it is our job to vet all of our prospective tenants thoroughly. Our qualifying criteria are consistent, concrete, and we do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law. At The Listing Real Estate Management, Orlando’s top rated property management company, we run and screen hundreds of applications each year. We have seen it all from stolen identities to fake pay information. From this experience in the property management industry, we are well trained to spot the warning signs and red flags throughout the application and screening process.
Your application and rental property qualifying criteria must be thorough and require the same information from each applicant. You cannot make exceptions. If you are doing this, you'll begin to understand and see the potential warning signs within the application.
Today we wanted to cover a few of the concerning signs you may encounter during your application screening of potential tenants.
Application Misrepresentation or Fake Identity
When reviewing your prospective tenants' application, you must confirm their identity. If their government-issued identification attached to the form is entirely different then the name submitted on the application, then this should trigger a red flag.
We've seen this situation arise in the Orlando rental market. When a prospect comes to view the property, is given, and understands the qualifying criteria and submits an application with another individual's information. Whether that be with their ID or SS #, if the information provided isn't consistent throughout the application, additional verification should be requested.
Fake Rental Verification
Verifying previous rental history is crucial to ensure you are not getting stuck with a problem tenant. To verify this, request at least two years of rental references from their previous landlords, not just their most recent. The reason for this is to check and see if they have been a problem tenant. Their previous landlord may be inclined to provide you with false or positive rental history to get them out of their property and out of their hair. You should ask many questions to get the landlord to talk about their current or previous tenant. If the landlord starts to mention late payments, missed payments, neighbor complaints, addition occupants or pets that are not registered, make note of the issues and react accordingly.
Also, validate that the rental reference provided on the application is truly the landlord and not the prospects friend or family member. Verify by cross-referencing the county property tax records of their previous residence and the contact information provided on the application.
At The Listing Real Estate Management, we have set questions we ask previous landlords to verify the applicant has been a great resident and that we are indeed speaking with the correct person providing the reference.
New software, programs, and editable PDF's make it extremely easy nowadays for prospective tenants to fake their income to qualify the income requirement for your rental property. Look for consistent paystubs and verify employment and wage rate with the employer. A simple Google search of fake paystub generators will open your eyes to how easy and how many platforms are out there providing this service. Always verify employment and income.
Misrepresented Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal
Along with the readily accessible fake paystub generators, anyone can now misrepresent or claim their dog, cat, alligator, or lizard is a service animal by merely registering them with the many fake service animal registry websites out there. Prospective applicants do this to avoid one of two things;
By claiming their animal is an ESA or SA they'll purchase a registration for that animal to get out of paying the pet fee, pet rent, and/or pet deposit. Or their dog is listed under the aggressive/restricted breeds list that insurance companies or property owners do not allow or cover.
Such breeds include; Rottweiler, Pit Bull, American Bull Terrier, and any Mixes, Siberian husky, Chows, German Shepherds, St. Bernard, Great Dane, Doberman Pinchers, Alaskan Malamute, Akita, and any other aggressive breeds.
This topic is widely debated and a common occurrence within the property management industry. To help minimize your risk and avoid lawsuits for denying a prospect with a fake service animal, look into www.petscreening.com. Or consult your attorney.
Number of Occupants
Lastly, verify the number of occupants that will be living in your Orlando rental property. If you showed your rental property to a prospect and six others showed up with them, and only two of them applied for your Orlando rental property. It may be a red flag that the other four will be moving in with them — leaving you with four other individuals not being screened and not on the lease agreement. Again, verify with previous landlords and act quickly if unauthorized individuals move in during the lease term.
Your Orlando rental property deserves to have steady income and great profits, along with great residents that pay rent on time and maintain your real estate asset. This all comes from the application and screening processes that you have in place.
If you are an Orlando landlord, homeowner, or real estate investor and would like assistance in finding and screening tenants, feel free to reach out to The Listing Real Estate Management. We are your full-service property management company here in Orlando, Florida; our goal is to save you time, resources, and money for your real estate investment.