How to pick a dodgy tenant!


A long time ago I worked for a firm that leased out some of Melbourne’s most prestigious properties and I will never forget the time that one of those properties ended us being leased to a super dodgy character!

The property manager received an application on a premises that had an asking price of over $2000 per week, the application on the face of things looked really good, they worked full time, they had stable employment and they offered an additional 3 character references and to top it all off their National Tenancy Credit Check came back all clear!  Low and behold only 2 months into the tenancy and they defaulted on their rent, as you can appreciate is doesn’t take very long for a rental at this price to clock up into the tens of thousands in arrears so we needed to act swiftly.   When we were unable to reach the tenant we started scouring through the application again and this is what we noticed:

  • all mobile numbers for work and personal references
  • private landlord
  • registered the rental under a company name rather than a personal name

At first viewing this wouldn’t seem all that unusual however the following had occurred:

  • the applicant was the owner of 3 mobile phones all of which represented his references – his employer, his private landlord and his accountant
  • the applicant applied as a company and if we had conducted a tenancy check under his personal name we would have found out he had actually defaulted before with another agency

This particular chap had conducted this very same scam on numerous properties throughout Melbourne, his motivation unknown to us but the moral of this story is that it doesn’t matter what type of property you have, we are all subject to unsavoury characters and it’s fundamental that you know how to catch them out.   This won’t always be possible but this example has led us to having better, tighter and smarter techniques in determining the character of an applicant.