If a potential applicant wants to pay with cash and move in right away, I usually tell him/her that I need a few days to do the background check.
Responsible people plan ahead, and use checking/savings accounts. People who carry thousands of dollars in cash and don’t want to write out a check are:
- a “fly by night” business
- a drug dealer
- in trouble with the law
- don’t like paper trails
- all of the above.
I usually ask the applicant why they have so much cash on hand, and wait to see how they respond. If they seem evasive, just walk away.
People who have a lot of cash are really lucky, doing something illegal, or really smart. If they are so smart, they would be buying property, not renting it – so, ask a lot of questions.
The last thing you need is for the police to show up at your property because your tenant has turned the rental unit into a crack house.
The ONLY time I’m ever willing to accept cash from a potential applicant is if they pay the 6 months rent upfront – along with a large security deposit.
Because my suspicion is already heightened, I NEVER let them move-in until I have a signed lease, copy of their license and passport, and have done some calling around to references. Then, and only then, do I give them a key.