You won't realize you're dealing with a "Serial Squatter" (also known as a "Professional Tenant") until it's too late. They looked great on the rental application and moved into your property—then things started going wrong. Now you're stuck with a bad resident—and you're not sure what to do!
These terrible residents can be a significant problem for Virginia Beach property investors. Without a thorough screening process, they're hard to identify and avoid—and they love to take advantage of property owners during a crisis. Even a single Serial Squatter can become an expensive problem that derails your long-term income.
How can investors recognize these renters and keep them out of their rental properties? Follow these tips from expert rental property management, Virginia Beach investors!
Foreword: While we are experts in Virginia Beach property management, this blog is not legal counsel. If you need live support, get in touch with the Rent Estate™ Advisors at Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads!
What Is a "Professional Tenant?"
Don't be fooled by the term "professional." These are not good residents! We call them "Professional Tenants" because they make a habit of going from property to property and fooling owners into allowing them into their rentals.
It's easy to think that you can spot a bad renter by what they put on their application or how they behave during an interview. However, when dealing with Serial Squatters, they "look" like they will be excellent residents. That's part of what makes them so hard to recognize and keep out of your rentals!
- Provide all of the right answers that make them seem like a good renter
- Dress nice and appear "put together" during an interview
- Are friendly and engaging in conversation
- Have an impeccable rental application.
These renters are very good at putting on a performance, playing the role of your next ideal resident. However, as soon as they move into your Virginia Beach property, things will often quickly begin to fall apart.
How They Ruin Your Investment Income
What could go wrong? With bad residents in your property, anything that can go wrong, will.
Serial Squatters become expensive mistakes when they:
- Stop paying the rent
- Damage your property
- Refuse to leave your property
- Ignore your reminders and Notice to Quit
- Destroy your reputation as an excellent property owner.
In extreme cases, Professional Tenants wreak havoc, then abandon your property and disappear without notice—leaving you no way to track them down to recover lost rental income. Dealing with the aftermath of these residents leaves investors with expensive property damage and a significant financial loss.
How Can Investors Avoid Serial Squatters?
The best way to deal with these renters is to avoid them! However, as we mentioned, they aren't easy to recognize without knowing what to look for. Property investors need a thorough screening process—and the ability to understand a bad renter before they have a chance to move into your Virginia Beach property.
Watch for Red Flags
Running a background check can reveal the red flags that signal you're dealing with a Professional Tenant. During your screening process, watch out for applicants who:
- Have unexplained gaps in rental or employment history
- Have a financial history with poor credit, bankruptcies, collections, and judgments
- Readily demonstrate an overly-thorough knowledge of local, state, and federal rental laws.
- Provide references that you can't locate or provide similar rehearsed stories about the applicant
- Show rental history of late payments, evictions, past payments still owed, or litigation with one or more previous property owners.
Without going through a thorough screening process with every applicant, Virginia Beach property investors risk missing these red flags. Your investment income and assets are too valuable to skip the screening process when you consider what can happen when one of these renters runs your property!
How Can Investors Deal With a Professional Tenant?
What happens if you already have a Serial Squatter in your property? You don't have to continue dealing with them—but proceed with caution. You might be tempted to change the locks and throw their stuff on the lawn, but that approach can lead to a lawsuit.
A Professional Tenant is still a legal renter in your property! To deal with this problem:
- Follow the current laws to evict a resident
- Keep documentation for every communication, notice, reminder, and the renter's responses
- Consult a lawyer and professional rental property management, Virginia Beach investors, for best results!
You don't have to handle the situation on your own—and you shouldn't try that route. A property manager can deal with a Professional Tenant—so you don't have to do it!
Property Management Protects Against Serial Squatters!
Protecting your investments against malicious intent requires professional help! These types of renters are often less likely to try and rent a property with professional management. If you already have one of these terrible residents, it's time to get rental property management Virginia Beach investors can rely on involved now!
The Rent Estate™ Advisors of Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads apply a thorough screening process to identify Serial Squatters without ever giving them the chance to move in and ruin your investment! It's just one of the many services we provide to investors looking to grow their long-term wealth.
What are other traits you should be looking for in a property management partner? Learn more with our Guide to Finding the Best Property Manager in Hampton Roads, Virginia, to get tips on how to find and work with only the best property management partner!