Identifying High-Risk Tenants: Avoid Potential Problems

Real estate agent holding house in hand

July 3, 2024

As a landlord, finding reliable tenants is essential for protecting your investment and ensuring a smooth rental experience. However, some tenants pose higher risks than others and can lead to significant financial and legal troubles. At LSK Property Management, we’ve identified key characteristics of high-risk tenants to help landlords in London, Ontario, avoid potential problems.

1. Poor Credit History

One of the most significant indicators of a high-risk tenant is a poor credit history. Tenants with a history of late payments, high debt levels, or bankruptcies are more likely to default on rent payments, causing financial strain for landlords.

Red Flag: Always conduct a thorough credit check to assess the tenant’s financial responsibility. LSK Property Management ensures that only tenants with satisfactory credit scores and financial stability are approved.

2. Frequent Job Changes

Tenants who frequently change jobs may struggle with financial stability, increasing the risk of missed rent payments. A stable employment history indicates a reliable income source, while job instability can lead to financial unpredictability.

Red Flag: Verify the tenant’s employment history and request proof of stable income. LSK Property Management carefully reviews employment information to ensure tenants have a consistent income stream.

3. Previous Evictions

Tenants with a history of evictions are among the highest risk. Evictions often indicate serious issues such as non-payment of rent, property damage, or problematic behavior. Renting to someone with a history of evictions can lead to repeated problems.

Red Flag: Check the tenant’s rental history for any previous evictions. LSK Property Management thoroughly investigates rental histories to avoid tenants with eviction records.

4. Criminal Background

A criminal background, especially involving property-related crimes or violent behavior, is a significant risk factor. Such tenants can pose a danger to the property, other tenants, and the community.

Red Flag: Conduct a comprehensive background check, including a criminal record search. LSK Property Management performs detailed background checks to ensure the safety and security of the property and community.

5. Lack of References

Tenants who cannot provide references from previous landlords or employers may be hiding problematic behaviors or poor rental histories. Reliable references are crucial for verifying the tenant’s reliability and behavior.

Red Flag: Require references and follow up with previous landlords and employers to verify the tenant’s history. LSK Property Management ensures that all references are checked and verified.

6. Poor Communication Skills

Tenants who are unresponsive, evasive, or difficult to communicate with can lead to ongoing issues. Effective communication is essential for addressing maintenance requests, lease terms, and any potential disputes.

Red Flag: Assess the tenant’s communication skills during the application process. LSK Property Management values open and clear communication and ensures that tenants are responsive and cooperative.

7. Inconsistent or False Information

Tenants who provide inconsistent or false information on their application are likely hiding something. Accurate and truthful information is crucial for assessing the tenant’s suitability.

Red Flag: Verify all information provided on the application, including employment, income, and rental history. LSK Property Management meticulously verifies application details to ensure accuracy and honesty.


Identifying high-risk tenants is crucial for protecting your rental property and ensuring a positive rental experience. By being vigilant about poor credit history, frequent job changes, previous evictions, criminal backgrounds, lack of references, poor communication skills, and inconsistent information, landlords can avoid potential problems. At LSK Property Management, we use a rigorous tenant screening process to help landlords in London, Ontario, find reliable and responsible tenants, minimizing risks and maximizing peace of mind.