What makes a happy landlord are happy tenants who pay the rent on time and help out around the house. They can mow the lawn on their or take care of a clogged toilet without calling you.

They’re able to afford your rent because you did your homework and made sure they made what they saidhow to spot a bad tenant they made and they’re not loaded up on debt. Still, any landlord who has been around for a few years can tell you that sometimes a bad tenant slips under your radar and you find out only too late that the rent rarely comes on time. What three things can you do to prevent a bad tenant from sneaking by?

It starts with you and the first thing is to pull a credit report. Don’t let a tenant provide you with a copy of one they pulled on their own, individuals are entitled to one free credit report per year from all three bureaus. Any document today can be altered with the proper software. Make sure you take care of credit checking on your own.

Second, validate employment. If a tenant says they’re self-employed or they don’t have a recent copy of a pay check stub, be wary. There’s nothing wrong with being self-employed by any stretch but the income is sometimes hard to prove. Ask for last year’s income tax returns and a copy of their three most recent bank statements showing income. If the applicant says they always get paid in cash, it’s time to look for another tenant. If they’re employed, call the employer and ask for them by name.

Finally, get a reference checks from a previous landlord, contact information from a family member and a co-worker. Make sure you validate the existence of these referrals and their relationship with the applicant. If it’s a co-worker, call the company and ask for that employee by name. Visit the previous landlord personally if you can and speak with the family member directly.

This all may seem a bit much, but if you want to avoid landlord hassles, know what to look for when you think  someone might be pulling the wool over your eyes.