5 Ways to Avoid Nightmare Tenants

Avoid Nightmare Tenants

It’s an apartment manager’s worst nightmare: Having a tenant who isn’t paying rent and is causing drama. 

You wish all tenants would follow the rules and pay rent on time. But alas, that doesn’t always happen. 

Not to be a downer, but It’s impossible to have all model tenants. 

The reality is not everything is smooth sailing when you’re managing a complex. And that includes having perfect apartment residents that do no wrong. 

Even though you’re going to have a few bad apples doesn’t mean the majority of your tenants can’t be excellent. 

Here are some tips to follow to prevent having nightmare tenants who make your life difficult. 

1. Don’t Accept Incomplete Applications 

If a potential tenant hands in a blank application, it’s best not to accept it. You can’t screen someone who doesn’t give you all the necessary information. 

Besides, it’s a red flag when someone doesn’t fill everything out. It could mean they’re trying to hide something.

On the flip side, you don’t want to assume that an applicant is hiding something. It could be they forgot to fill something out. For example, they may not have their last landlord’s current contact information. 

Find out if they forgot to fill something out or if it was intentionally left off the application. If it’s an honest mistake, they could end up being a fantastic tenant after you process their application.

But, always error on the side of caution. You don’t want to accept a new tenant without knowing everything about their living history. Worst case, they may have been evicted because they didn’t pay rent! 

2. Do a Background Check

Before accepting a tenant, doing a background check can reveal a lot about them. Red flags to look for on a background check are them having a record of theft and vandalism. 

If a tenant shows a history of damaging property, then it’s safe to say they may not be a good fit for your complex. 

For more information about their background, get in touch with their prior landlord. They can let you know whether they had any issues with the tenant. And, they may reveal whether their past tenant vandalized the property at all. 

3. Run a Credit Check 

Besides doing a background check, you should also do a credit check. Make sure you run the credit report from a reputable company. A tenant may offer to give you their credit report, but it’s best to do it on your own. 

Running someone’s credit tells you a lot about them. 

Mainly, it reveals whether they have debt or have committed fraud in the past. Whatsmore, you’ll be able to figure out whether they have enough money in the bank to pay for rent. 

A potential tenant’s financial maturity will dictate whether they qualify to rent an apartment. 

4. Keep Your Current Tenants Happy

Sometimes, you may be to blame for a nightmare tenant. For example, if you’re a busy landlord or leasing consultant, you may be neglecting existing tenants. 

If a resident’s phone calls and emails are going unheard, it’s understandable that they’re frustrated. It may be that they have something serious going on in their apartment. 

If there’s a bug infestation or their neighbor is noisy, you shouldn’t ignore their complaints. Instead, it’s better to follow up on time and find a solution to their problem. 

There are exceptions to bending over backwards for a tenant. Sometimes tenants are just difficult. But it’s always worth the time to check in and see what’s going on. The sooner you can take care of the issue they’re dealing with, the better. 

5. Elicit the Help From Leasing Agents

As a property manager, you have a lot on your plate. And when you have too much going on, you may accidentally let things slide. In times like these you may need assistance to keep everything on the up and up. 

If you’re overly busy, it may be time to hire another leasing agent. Or, you could elicit help from a virtual leasing agent. LeaseLeads is one example of a company that offers excellent virtual leasing services. 

Having other professionals manage your apartment residents comes in handy. 

You can put them in charge of tasks like moving in tenants and moving them out. Keep in mind that having a leasing agent focus on the move-in process can save you headaches down the line. Having everything in order by the time a tenant moves in should eliminate any issues like a leaky faucet. 

Besides putting them in charge of moving a tenant in and out, you can also have them play the bad guy. For example, you may have a tenant who isn’t paying rent. Unfortunately, they may need to evict the tenant, which is a time-consuming process. 

Due to the time and effort tasks like this take, having other professionals at your unit can save you big time. 


The best way to avoid getting bad tenants is by thoroughly screening them. Do a background check, call references, and run their credit before accepting them. 

You may give a new tenant the benefit of the doubt and not run their credit. While it’s kind, you must extend the same screening process to every potential tenant. Otherwise, it could come back and bite you later. 

Likewise, keep your existing tenants happy. Apartment residents who have a positive living experience are more willing to stick around. Plus, when you’re attentive to their needs, they won’t be as difficult. 

Follow these tips, and you’ll avoid nightmare tenants. Instead, you’ll have model tenants who pay rent on time. Better yet, they’ll make your complex the ideal place to live!



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