In the self-storage industry you may have come across some choice characters that- in hindsight- you wish you had never rented a unit to. Oftentimes there are signs that will warn you about a problem tenant before you rent to them. Here are 4 signs that you have a problem tenant in the making!
Vague Answers. Many self-storage owners and managers have a series of questions they ask potential tenants to better suit their needs. This process also helps the owner or manager get a feel for the person and what kind of tenant they will be. When a prospect answers your questions vaguely it should be a red flag; they may be trying to be sneaky and may not be trustworthy. For example, if you ask a tenant how long they need the unit for and they reply with “ I don’t know” or “just a little while” then they may be a problem tenant. It is possible that they genuinely don’t know, but proceed with caution.
They Don’t Have The Money “Right Now”. Some tenants will come to the owner of the facility asking to rent a unit, but they will have some sob story about how they don’t have the money right now (of course they will in a few days or weeks though). This should be a giant red flag. In our experience in the self storage industry we have seen that these tenants are the ones that NEVER pay. To protect yourself and your business you should always require payment at the time of the rental.
Asking for Power In The Unit. Most facilities do not have power available in a unit, because people cannot live in or work in the units. So, when someone is asking for power it should pique your interest. This person is likely planning to use the unit for something that the lease agreement specifically prohibits. It is possible that they are just curious, so if you choose to rent to this tenant you should make it very clear what is and is not allowed to happen with regard to your unit.
Need A Unit Because They Were Evicted. The heading says it all. If someone was evicted from their home or apartment they were likely doing something that was an issue or didn’t pay. Neither of these options are good for you or your facility.
In closing, problem tenants will happen. Paying attention to these signs will keep it to a minimum! But if you happen to wind up with a problem tenant, take detailed notes in your self-storage management software so that you don’t rent to them again in the future. Good luck!