Do not fall for the story of a glib liar trying to fool you into renting your rental property. Although, by far most people are honest and trustworthy, the world is full of expert liars. Most landlords do not have an opportunity to really know someone when they apply to rent their investment home. Decisions need to be made very quickly. People want to move-in, and the landlord wants to begin receiving rent. This is a great combination for an experienced liar trying to get away with something when applying for a rental.
The Rule of Thumb to Catch an Expert Liar
The rule of thumb is to question the veracity of every story or explanation a stranger tells you when they are trying to rent your property. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your property from renting to the expert liar. Be objective about what is on the application and what you are told. This advice is much easier for a professional property manager to follow than an individual landlord. Professional Managers are bound by Fair Housing and other Federal, State and local laws against any appearance of discrimination. The individual normally is not. To abide by these regulations and laws the professional manager must document in their paperwork that they used objective rental criteria before a rental shopper is approved for a rental home. Everything needs to be verified and documented. There is no room for gut feelings.
As an individual renting their own property they are exempt from most anti-discrimination laws and regulations. This leaves room for the owner/landlord to rely heavily on their gut feelings. Many Owner/Landlord’s run credit checks on potential residents as well as standard background reports the same as the professionals. When the individual owner asks the potential rental about something they noticed that put up a red flag they may not verify the answer. This is especially true when the owner/landlord formed a favorable impression of the potential renter. It is human nature to want to believe someone you like. People tend to like expert liars on first impression. They get away with their lies because they are likeable. An expert liar will be very convincing, charming, quick to self-disclose, and can even produce tears for effect. These liars can fool anyone, no matter how honed your liar radar skills.
Always verify what is said. Ask questions and ask for details. If it is not obvious how to verify what they are telling you ask them how you can verify the explanation. In my experience, honest people will accept your need for accountability and take responsibility for helping you verify the information. The person who immediately shifts their attitude from charming to defensive or does not provide the kinds of details needed to verify the explanation is potentially a professional liar. If this happens heavily weigh the red flags, ignore gut feelings, run the issue by an objective person, etc. Be prepared to walk away from this potential renter. Expert liars are not responsible people and in general make poor residents. Further, You may have to deal with the expert liar over maintenance, late rents, etc. for a year or more.