Top 3 Lies Most Renters Tell Their Landlords

If you own rental property, your residents are likely lying to you. In a recent study from Porch.com, most renters admitted telling landlords at least one lie during their stay in a rental property. Furthermore, more than one-third admitted they would probably treat the property they lived in “better if they owned it.” Despite this, just under two-thirds of landlords say they trust their tenants to maintain their property[1]. This was particularly interesting in light of two other landlord disclosures: more than a quarter of all landlords do not do criminal background checks, and more than one-sixth do not do credit checks[2].

Top 3 Lies Renters are Telling

Probably the most disturbing part of the study, however, was how many tenants said they had lied to their landlord at least once during their stay in a rental property. The lies ranged from not disclosing the identities of everyone living in the property to a classic, “the rent check is in the mail.” Interestingly, only about one in 10 tenants told the latter lie.

Here are the top three lies renters say they tell their landlords:

#3: Nothing is broken.

Nearly one in four tenants say they did not disclose that appliances or other items in the unit were broken when they moved out of a property, but instead opted to keep quiet or even tried to hide the fact that the item was broken.

#2: I’m here for the long haul.

More than a quarter of tenants have promised they were not going to break their lease, then broken it anyway. This may be why nearly landlords in the study reported holding back an average of nearly 40 percent of security deposits from renters – in addition to the lies about things being broken, of course!

#1: I don’t have any pets.

The most common lie residents tell landlords is that they do not have any pets. In fact, more than 26 percent of renters admit they lied about a pet and then attempted to smuggle the furry friend into their residence after moving in. This is a particularly problematic lie for landlords and tenants, however, since it breaks the terms of the lease and can create grounds for eviction and also usually results in greater wear-and-tear on a property since animals – even well-trained ones – can be hard on the interior of a home.

Rental Properties are Still Worth It

While this study might present a bleak outlook for landlords, the reality is that most landlords in the study said the “stress of owning rental properties” (which they rated a 3 out of 5, on average) was “worth it.” In fact, more than 80 percent of landlords said regardless of how many evictions or “rent chases they needed to tackle,” being a landlord is “worth it for the money.” Not surprisingly, landlords who employed property managers to handle larger rental portfolios reported significantly less stress than landlords with fewer properties handling all management themselves.

Tell us what you think:

  • Do you own rental properties?
  • What is the most common lie you encounter from renters?
  • Is being a landlord worth it?

Thank you for reading the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter!

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[1] https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/04/25/renters-admit-lying-to-landlords

[2] https://porch.com/resource/renters-and-landlords-study

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