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Spotting The Good Lease Applicants From Bad

The vast majority of renters never cause a problem for their management companies. They pay on time, keep the place maintained, and communicate when there’s an issue. Then there are those who don’t.

Sometimes, they start out as good tenants; then things go south after a month or two. After so many years working with landlords and tenants in Las Vegas, we’ve come to recognize a few warning signs that alert us to the tenants whose leases we tend not to approve.

How to Recognize the Good and Bad


” The vast majority of renters never cause a problem for their management companies “

For starters, were they late for the showing appointment? If so, was there an explanation? It’s reasonably easy to determine if a person had a good reason like something came up at work or their child’s teacher needed to speak with them about volunteering at the open house. Basically, how do they react to being late? If it’s not mentioned or the reason is clearly an excuse, we’ll know what to expect going forward.

When showing the property, did they have a large group of friends or family with them? In some cases, this could be coincidence. Maybe the others wait in the car and stare at their cell phones. Take note if someone accompanies them and what role they play in helping the applicant make a decision. It’s very common for those with terrible credit and a bad leasing history to have others apply on their behalf or act as if they won’t be residing there.

Ask pointed questions and make them aware that every resident will have to be on the application and the lease. We often see applicants not be open about having pets. In units that have pet fees, that extra cash can set them back. Or, they just don’t want to pay it. If the unit doesn’t allow pets, ask anyway. Others may be able to afford the fee but just like the unit, so they don’t share anything about their 90-pound Golden Retriever. Again, we ask direct questions and take note of how they’re answered.

A trouble-tenant can create untold headaches for us property managers, as well as for our landlord clients. We do our best to make sure the applicants are honest, able to afford the property, and will be upfront about their rental history. Most times, they are exactly that. But sometimes they’re not.