Top 5 Warning Signs of Bad Tenants

  | 4 min read
Bad Tenants - Private Property Nigeria

As a landlord or caretaker, you need to be extremely observant when dealing with potential tenants because the last thing you want is bad tenants who come loaded with drama and bags of trouble. Below are the top 5 signs you should look out for when dealing with potential tenants.

Moving homes - Bad Tenants - Private Property Nigeria

Frequently Moving

If you ever find yourself dealing with a tenant who is in the habit of changing his/her apartment frequently, this is not a good sign. You should be wary; especially if he/she keeps having issues with previous landlords and neighbours. However, there are exceptions to this as there are some jobs that might have you getting redeployed from one place to another; even across states.

As a landlord, you have the right to ask for explanations if your prospective tenant is a frequent mover especially if he/she has changed apartments frequently within the same neighbourhood/state.

The Impatient Tenant

Never let a prospective tenant hoodwink you into rushing through your checklist for your verification process as well as the offer. bad tenants are always in a hurry to move in and they will pull a lot of strings around you to put you in a situation where you are tempted to rush the process. Don’t fall for this. Decent tenants always acknowledge and respect the move-in date suggested by the landlord. Dodgy people and bad tenants always have ulterior motives and have a reputation for fermenting trouble.

Drinking problem - Bad Tenants - Private Property Nigeria

Heavy Drinkers

If you notice a potential tenant reeking of alcohol (perhaps from the breath), be rest assured that you are most likely dealing with a man/woman with bad drinking habits. If possible, arrange multiple meetings with your potential tenants to be sure you are not about to make a mistake. The last thing you want to do is to hand over your property to an alcohol or drug addict.

Friends and Family

The golden rule is that you should not do business with your family or friends. If you respect your friendship and relationship with them, you should draw a line if a friend or relative ever approaches you with the intent to become your tenant.

The fact that your friend is asking to become your tenant does not make him/her a bad person. What this simply means is that a friend/relative is a bad tenant for you.

Tenancy is a business and at some point, you are bound to have some points where your opinions differ. This can lead to a disagreement. It is much easier to keep things professional with a tenant whom you are not related to. Same applies to friendships.

Temper - Bad Tenants - Private Property Nigeria

Short Tempered and Argumentative

If a prospective tenant throws a tantrum, raises his/her voice to a point that you consider worrisome or argues vehemently with you over little details, then this should naturally raise a red flag. If he/she keeps telling you about the things that you should do differently or sounds disrespectful at this stage, it is a sign that the situation will most likely get worse after he/she becomes your tenant.

Be wary of potential tenants who flare up when you ask them certain questions that are in line with a standard background check. Such tenants usually have things to hide.

Final Thoughts on Bad Tenants

Before you make a decision on a potential tenant, you should do a very thorough job of ensuring that documentation and background checks are carried out. You also need to trust your guts and instincts. You should remember that by signing a tenancy agreement, you are handing over your property to someone who has chosen to rent it for a period of time.

If you have a bad vibe about the person, don’t hesitate to bring the process to an end and move on. You should, however, give him/her a feedback. Such feedbacks lets them know that they are no longer being considered and as such, can move on to try elsewhere instead of waiting endlessly for you.

Samod Biobaku
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch,, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.