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Renters Beware: How to Spot a Bad Landlord

Beware Bad Landlord

A topic we and many other property management companies tend to cover with frequency pertains to deadbeat tenants – how to spot them and how to avoid them. What we don’t talk about as much, but needs just as much attention, is the topic of bad landlords or property managers.

We not only talk about this to help renters identify potential issues before they occur, we also do so for the benefit of these property managers and landlords – to provide them a reality check that will hopefully spur corrective action.

So, without further ado, here are some of what we deem to be the biggest warning signs of a bad landlord and what you can do to avoid them:

  • A property with noticeable exterior issues, such as roofing, structure, or common area damage that goes without repair for days or longer
  • A high rate of tenant turnover
  • A response time to tenant complaints or repair requests longer than 24 hours
  • A landlord who is never around until rent is due
  • Obscure legal language in the lease, or language that is doesn’t clearly identify how deposits are allocated or if/when they are returned, etc.

How to Get the Info You Need

There are many online sites that allow current and former tenants a place to vent and rave about a property. While some of these really should be taken with a grain of salt (anyone can leave a review anonymously, and ex-employees as well as evicted tenants are likely to be among the naysayers), there is validity within. So, read through all the reviews you can about the property. If you see a trend, take it to heart.

While you can call the local police department as well as the Better Business Bureau to find out property-related information, you should always look to personal references as well. Talk to people who live or have lived there before, and ask probing questions with an open mind. Ask how long they’ve been there, any problems they’ve had, how long the response time is to issues, the cleanliness of the property, and other such questions designed to give you some insight into the potential experiences you may encounter.

Keeping an open mind is crucial. There is always a good and a bad to every business. Some really are bad, while others get a bad wrap from a squeaky (or broken) wheel or two. So, just bare this in mind. And, if you need some help, just give us a call at 817-295-5959 or send an email to