Weird Potential Tenants

July 14th, 2010 · 12 Comments · Personal House, Property Management, Rental Property

Skull, strange guy, creepy

Potential Tenant or Nightmare?

I think this is weird tenant month. I rent apartments on behalf of owners and as usual I’m renting a few. One of them is for the landlord featured in the post Landlord – Death Edition. The landlord I was worried about in that post is OK although he was in the hospital for a while. Part of my unstated job description is to separate the owners from weird unsuitable tenants until we find that “perfect” tenant. That’s why they hire me. It’s really important for them because they both live in the house.

Tenant Only Slightly Strange

When I became aware of the illness of the Landlord at the one location I was with the tenant who later turned out to be very pushy and strange. The first sign of that problem actually happened during the showing I was at. We were both approached by the neighbour who told us that the owner had been taken to the hospital. While I was explaining to the neighbour that I had no idea where the owner was the potential tenant just randomly started up a conversation with a random lady on the street.

Social Conventions Being Violated

Obviously there is no law against starting up conversations on the street. There is nothing wrong with it except that it violates certain unstated conventions. After I finished talking to the neighbour, I had to walk down the street to give the application to him and he was still trying to talk to the clearly uncomfortable lady. He had engaged her in a conversation of sorts and he kept me waiting and finally I had to interrupt to give him his paperwork.

Tenant gets Pushier

I had already had to listen to his oversharing in the apartment and while I did not immediately clue into what the problem was, it did leave me feeling a little uncomfortable. As luck would have it, I got the application the next day and it looked fine. The owner was still missing and I told the applicant that the next day. So he called me every day until the owner got out of the hospital and the owner turned him down. So I told him that I was turning down his application.He kept calling me every day trying to change my mind. By then, I’ve classified this guy as a pushy problem tenant who would overwhelm the owner with unreasonable requests.

More Boundary Crossing

Then, he got even more pushy, he went to the house and tried to talk to the owner. The owner wasn’t home, he came home to find the an application and ID for the potential tenant as well as a long letter begging him to give the place. That’s when thing got funny because the owner recognized the guy as someone who had bought something off him years before and bounced a check. Furthermore, the potential had been working for a friend of his as an accountant and funds had disappeared.

In spite of that coincidence, this guy had already revealed himself as a bad apple who would even if he paid the rent, take advantage of the owner, violate his boundaries and generally make life miserable for a variety of reasons. He would then be impossible to get rid of because chances are he would pay his rent.

Example of Violation of Landlord – Tenant Relationship

I have heard a number of these kinds of stories, the worst example possibly being a great landlord who had changed a perfectly functional furnace at the tenant’s request because they thought the 7 year old furnace was too old. She ended up hiring Speedy Rental Agency, a company I used to work for, to manage the property because it just cost her too much and she couldn’t say no to their continual pushy requests to change and repair everything for no good reason.

My Next Strange Tenant

My next example is another tenant who was pushy and probably lying about everything about themselves. I have really strict procedures about how I book appointments. First I take the call and make an appointment, then I require potential tenants to call me an hour before the appointment to confirm the appointment. This saves me a lot of gas going to the appointment just to be stood up. I make it crystal clear to everyone that if they don’t call to confirm I will not show up.

In this property the owner lives in the house. This tenant fails the IQ test and shows up there without confirming the appointment. She starts off by telling the the owner that she didn’t want to bother me to call me. This is total BS because she had made and appointment I was waiting for her to call and ready to go show the place.

Tenant Runs the Apartment Down

She then goes on to tell the owner that the place has been for rent for a long time which it really hasn’t it’s only been vacant for 14 days. I did start renting it as soon as the last tenant gave her notice but the place was over crowded with furniture and not showing very well. As soon as I saw the place I knew it was a potential waste of time, and I told the owner this; but, hope springs eternal and I’ve gotten lucky before. The owner also took a week or so to paint the place and make it look attractive for new tenants.

Then Offers Multiple Months of Rent Up Front?

So this potential tenant goes on to tell the owner that she’s charging way too much for her place and she offers her $250 less then the rent. She claims she lives in the area and she works for the Federal Government and she’s offended by the lack of parking for her truck. She also doesn’t like it that the 90 year old house doesn’t have central air and tells the owner how bad it is that she doesn’t have it. Then even thought the house has nothing of what she needs she leaves her number for the owner to call her “when she comes to her senses.” She then offered to pay a large sum of money up front before moving in.

Problems With the Owner for Me

Of course the owner immediately calls me as soon as this weird pushy person leaves. She tells me to take her address out of the ads, I tell her that the address is not in the ads. This lady had called about a place clearly out of her budget, circumvented me, harassed the owner about all the stuff her apartment didn’t have and probably lied about her employment. Last time I checked people who work for the Federal Government are doing quite well for themselves and don’t need to harangue apartment owners about the price of their rentals.

You’ll Meet Some Weirdos

I’m not quite sure what’s in the water these days, this has never in all my years of renting happened, yet this month it has happened not once but twice. One thing is for sure when you’re leasing out apartments, you do meet some very strange people. The prime criteria is usually if the people will pay the rent but some potential tenants clearly reveal themselves as very problematic and you should avoid them. If you live in the same house this becomes even more important. It’s also no secret that when you’re renting you should try to match your tenants up, if possible. If you rent to a bad tenant with bad behaviours, they cause your good tenants to move and you definitely don’t need that!

8 Kinds of Tenants You Should Avoid

The Moral to this story is try to do your best to avoid the following kinds of people if you can afford to.

  1. Pushy Tenants
  2. Tenants who are way too picky for their price range
  3. Tenants who are liars
  4. Tenants don’t respect boundaries or social conventions
  5. Tenants with hard luck stories
  6. Tenants complaining about their previous landlord
  7. Tenants who are not “nice” people
  8. Tenants that make you uncomfortable in any way even if you can’t exactly define it.

There’s more to being a good tenant than paying the rent. If you live in the same house these kinds of “soft” criteria become even more important. It’s hard to be patient when you’re having to pay the mortgage on an empty apartment but do your best to find the best tenant you can for the place you have.Some of these people become property management nightmares later on in the landlord tenant relationship. Depending on your management style you’ll want to give these characters a pass.

Happy Renting!

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Dana

    There are lots of weird people out there, and sometimes when I have a unit avaialable, it feels like they have all answered my ad.

    The weirdest potential tenant I had was a man who suggested that he would have sex with me if I would be willing to overlook the occassional late rent payment. He suggested it as though it was a great offer. Trust me, this guy was creepy and not a looker – I tried to be insulted, but it was so sad it was actaually funny. Apparently this is the arrangement he had with his current landlady but she was moving away and the arrangement would no longer suit her so he needed a new landlady!

    I also had a couple who were legally blind but very good a picking out the tiniest little flaws in the floors, paint on the walls, etc. while they were viewing the place.

  • It Box @ All Around the World News

    Crystal Clear Hire…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    • Rachelle

      Thanks for the Link Stuff 🙂

      Dana I was just laughing to myself about your comment. This is a strange world we live in. I had a guy last year who I rented to very unfortunately who was a flasher! He stalked the other tenant as she was coming and going from work. He was very careful to be in his apartment when he exposed himself. He just opened his door and she had to pass it by as she came into the common area. Then one day the landlord went by to fix the dryer… he knew she was coming, she texted him as she was on her way! He answered the door in his birthday suit and asked her if she needed any help! The problem I faced was that it is perfectly legal to be naked in your own house.

      I served him with a stack of Landlord & Tenant Board form about an inch thick. I had not a hope in hell of winning on any of the grounds I used. I bluffed, he left. Thank God!

      The bottom line is that as a landlord when renting everyone is on their best behaviours. How could you possibly predict that a tenant will turn out to be a flasher? His credit and application were perfect too. I’m just guessing here but I’ll bet Ted Bundy had perfect credit and rental application. It seems that the advanced level weirdos are extremely skilled at deception. They are very skilled at hiding and there is often no clue whatsoever that they are not completely normal good tenants. Thankfully these characters are relatively rare!

  • renter

    Never trust a landlord; they are a bunch of money hungry scavengers with run down properties and no money to fix them. Hence the name slumlord.

    • Rachelle

      I refer you to the statistics from the Landlord & Tenant Board renter

      Landlord vs Tenant Receipts
      From April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, the Board received 85,840 applications filed under the RTA. This represents a substantial increase of 5,288 more applications over last year’s workload, approximately 6.5%. The increase may be attributable, at least in part, to the difficult economic climate experienced by Ontarians in the past year.The distribution of application receipts has remained relatively constant since 1998 when the resolution of landlord-tenant disputes was transferred from the provincial court system to the Board’s predecessor, the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal. This past year was no exception, with 92% of applications filed by landlords and 8% filed by tenants.

      It appears that there is a 92/8 ratio of ripped off landlords to upset tenants.

      There are slumlords, it looks like there are a lot less slumlords than fraudulent deadbeat tenants though.

  • thinker

    Your second example was not weird at all. Sounds like a schrewd negotiator to me.

    Have you ever considered that the rent is actually too high for the condition of the property? Do you think that just because someone works for the federal government they want to overpay for accommodations?

    People need to eat, pay utilities, buy clothing, commute, save for retirement, etc. Not all income can be eaten up by housing costs.

    • Rachelle

      I rent all over Toronto and the rent is not too high for the place. The place is nice.

      The rent she was proposing is for a basement apartment in that neighborhood.

      I have met and respect shrewd negotiators. She was a weirdo. I’d eat my shoe if she actually worked for the federal government.

  • thinker

    Rachelle, your ratio is meaningless. The fact that landlords use the system to gain an advantage does not mean they are right. The better statistic is whether the arbitrator finds in favour of the landlord or the tenant.

    I have had some moronic landlords who tried keep the damage deposit “as a business decision” in the case of zero damage. Not saying all landlords are like that, but they will take advantage as frequently as tenants.

    • Rachelle

      I wish that were the case but 69,000 were for non payment. 🙁 Tenants only filed for 3,900 cases total. The rest were for other reasons.

      In Ontario we never get to keep any deposit, it can only be used as the last month’s rent.

  • mbt shoes

    A good article Thank you!

  • annonymous

    I think it is funny that you say you would waste your gas and time if you got stood up, when I have been stood up by you.. I had talked to you 3 days in a row on the phone, and had said where I would be, I called you three hours in advance due to constrictions of calling any later, and I stated this clearly, and yet, you did not show up, I even called you while at the apt to see where you were. I then called a few times afterward in which you did not even bother to call back, very unprofessional. How could one trust in your rental deposit scam if you dont even answer your phone, it would be so easy for you to dodge a poor un suspecting tenant. by reading your blog, I have gathered that you are a very judgmental, discriminative, “my shit dont stink” kind of landlord, and I guess I should be happy I did not end up having to deal with you.

  • thepinch

    These days I rent rooms, which gets me out of a lot of the issues created by the LTA. Lots of people want fully furnished, loaded rooms with granite kitchens.

    They go on to want air conditioning, access to the oven and stove 24/7, quiet when they are sleeping on shift, a dog, an electric guitar, and rent for a couple at the same price.

    Nobody wants to pay first/last, sign a contract, identify next of kin, nor their employers or landlords over the last 5 years.

    If this keeps up I’m selling.