Last year Lynda H had the opportunity to move to Spain for a year. Her son's childhood friend, Nick, seemed like the perfect tenant to rent her house while she was away. He was single, no pets, had a stable job and she had known him since he was a kid. Because she knew him well, she thought she could forego the formalities of a standard agreement. She did not run a credit or background check, she didn't require a security deposit and they signed a simple one-page agreement stating the terms of the lease.
As Linda got ready to travel, she handed the keys to her property to Nick and instructed him to deposit the rent in her bank account on the 1st of each month. During the next 12 months, Nick paid Linda only two months worth of rent, caused significant damage to her property and refused to move out until Linda was forced to take him to court.
A tenant from hell is not always easy to spot. Make sure you are diligent when handing the keys to your property. Run a thorough screening of the potential tenants including a credit report, a criminal background check, eviction records and check references for prior residency and employment.