Landlords- check out this great post on screening prospective tenants...
Of the 20 to 30 emails I receive per day from landlords with tenants who owe them money, 5 or 6 are from landlords who did not screen their tenants before they rented to them and are now upset that the tenant burned them. I shake my head when I read these requests for help.
For whatever reason, the landlord rented to someone who "looked okay" and then got upset when the tenant burned them. Would these landlords buy a used car sight unseen? Or show up at a dog shelter and say, "give me any dog, I don't need to see it or know anything about it."? Of course they wouldn't. As absurd as this sounds, it is basically how they run their rental business.
As I scratch my head I always wonder why. Do they just not know how to screen? If this is the case, I am happy to help educate them on good business practices that will help them reduce the possibility of a tenant burning them, or help collect any debt that could not be foreseen. Most of my articles emphasize the good business practices landlords should use to minimize tenant debt.
The cynic in me says that a certain percentage of landlords who run their business sloppily, just don't care who they rent to. The only advice I can offer these types of landlords is, "good luck". That pile of debt you are writing me about is the by-product of the way you run your business. There is nothing I can do for you other than to ask you to reconsider how you go about being a landlord. To continue running your business as if it were a hobby will continue to cost you money and possibly get you sued if you violate the law.
Maybe they don't want to spend the very small amount of money it costs to screen a tenant. Seriously? You don't want to spend $20 to screen, but you are writing me for advice about the $6000 your tenant owes you? Think about how ridicules this scenario sounds.
As I have published in other articles, I do not consider myself a landlord or tenant advocate. I encourage landlords to run their businesses legally and in a way that minimizes their risk. I also expect tenants to pay their rent and take care of the property they are renting.
Please email me your questions and will try to help you.