INVESTORS’ CORNER: Dirty tricks tenants play :: Metrolina REIA

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two stories.        

Why all this focus on the underhanded gambits of tenants? Are the majority of people applying for my rental properties out to trick or deceive me?

The answer, my friend, is absolutely not. The majority of tenants that will apply for your properties are decent, honest, hardworking folks.

The problem is that their unethical counterparts move around a lot, thereby making your chance of encountering them greater than their proportion of the tenant pool would indicate.

So onward to preparing you for additional “tricks” Forewarned is forearmed

Crowded house

Some tenants may try to move additional occupants into your property. Beside the fact that the state has legal limits for how many adults may occupy each bedroom, and the additional problem of having people in the house whose criminal histories you have not had a chance to review, there is an unavoidable result of too many people occupying your property: increased wear and tear.

The math is simple. If there are twice as many people living in the property than were intended, the toilet is being flushed twice as often, twice the bacon grease is being poured down the kitchen sink, twice as many feet are walking on the carpet, causing it to wear out twice as fast – you get the picture.

The solution is to have your rental application require that every vehicle that will be parked there be listed, and the lease state that if additional vehicles occupy the property beyond a certain timeframe, the rental rate will retroactively increase. Check with your attorney for specifics.

Last month’s rent

Some tenants will attempt to use their security deposit as their “last month’s rent” when moving out. This is common, and many landlords overlook the glaring problem with agreeing to this arrangement” You no longer have a security deposit.

If damage is done to the property, you are unlikely to uncover the full extent of it until after your tenant has vacated, taking with them the money you should be holding against the need to make repairs.

You will not do this very many times before figuring out that it is a win/lose situation, and you are not the winner.


Lou Gimbutis is director of education at the Metrolina Real Estate Investors Association, which provides education, mentoring, and networking for real estate investing in the Charlotte region. He can be contacted at [email protected]. For more information, visit

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