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Tricks and Cons Tenants Use

By John Nuzzolese

Most of the sneaky little tricks listed below can easily be thwarted with proper tenant screening and a little landlord tenant knowledge.

  1. The Old "Fake Credit Report" Trick:
    With todayís computer technology, it is quite easy for a tenant to fake a credit report. Anyone can get a free copy of their own credit report online and make a few ďmodificationsĒ on it before printing it out and presenting it to an innocent, unsuspecting and impressed landlord.

  2. The Old "Totally Fake Identity" Trick with great credit report:
    Fake IDs are sold to under aged kids who want to get into bars all over the country. It is easy enough for a con-man tenant to get a fake ID to match his friendís or relativeís credit report and present him/herself as that person. It is a good idea to check IDs carefully and verify as much information in that personís name as possible.

  3. The Old "I'm a victim of Identity Theft" Trick:
    A popular excuse for a bad credit report. Blame it on identity theft!

  4. The Old "My spouse ruined my Credit" Trick:
    A popular excuse for divorced deadbeats. Blame it on the Ex!

  5. The Old "Fake social security #" Trick:
    Many fraudster rental applicants present fake social security numbers on their rental application. Often it is their childís or a made up number that brings incorrect or no results. When asked for an explanation, they may pretend they donít understand why this happened.

  6. The Old "Self Employed with fake income records" Trick:
    Self employed tenants are among the most difficult references to verify. Why, because as their own boss, the tenant prospect is giving you his own references on himself. Is it possible he might exaggerate his success and income and create corresponding exaggerated reference material? You bet it is!

  7. The Old "Threaten the Landlord with a Discrimination Suit" Trick:
    A common tactic of a disgruntled rental reject. This trick works on many inexperienced landlords. Law abiding landlords who always follow proper tenant screening procedure should not fall victim to this.

  8. The Old "Move In FREE" Trick:
    The tenant shops rentals with desperate landlords who offer a free first month and no security deposit. They live free until they get tired of stringing the poor sucker along.

  9. The Old "This place needs work" Trick:
    One of the oldest negotiating tactics in the book is to insult the product (or rental property in this case) with depreciating comments and requests for repairs and/or improvements to be done. An eager landlord is often side-tracked from the screening process or rent collection by these decoy tactics.

  10. The Old "Fake Injury Threatening Lawsuit" Trick:
    Some tenants, usually when they hit hard times, will pretend to get hurt on the property and blame it on the landlordís negligence. They first call and ask about the landlordís insurance coverage. Then, while cleverly hinting they might sue you, they may ask for free or reduced rent for a while because they have medical expenses. Then they find an opportunistic attorney to help them commit insurance fraud by suing you for a settlement.

  11. The Old "My Bank Made a Mistake" Trick:
    To avoid a late charge or even just embarrassment, tenant may lie to you by blaming the reason for their bounced check on the bank.

  12. The Old "Iím out of Town" Trick:
    A common excuse why the tenant was not able to pay the rent on time. Of course, being out of town on business all the time can make it impossible to mail the rent. What about mailing it early? What about automatic withdrawal? These things would solve the problem and would be used if the tenant was sincere... One tenant tried this on me when caller ID was a brand new feature. He said he was calling from out of state, but I saw his home phone number on the ID!

  13. The Old "Please Donít Call or Tell my Wife Iím Late with the Rent" Trick:
    An attempt to get the landlord in on the conspiracy to save the marriage of the tenant. A big load of BULL.

  14. The Old "Youíre a great guy" Trick:
    Another attempt to BS you. Sometimes the tenant will give you small gifts to demonstrate his goodwill while he bilks you for months worth of rent. The idea is to make you feel better while you are being taken advantage of. I had a tenant who delivered a pizza to my house. (I was afraid it might be poisoned because I was evicting him.)

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