What kind of tenant are you most easily fooled by.

12 Replies

Being a fairly new landlord (3 years) and having just gotten into my first multi-family. I have found myself making concessions for a certain kind of tenant more than any other. I seem to give much more leeway to the 50 and over crowd. Maybe its because they are my parents age, maybe its because I see the lack of options they have at the end of their hire able years, but I have been taken in twice by older tenants who have fallen on hard times to my detriment. Know that I am aware of my blind spot I will be more careful of it in the future.

What I wonder is, am I the only one. Does anyone else find themselves giving more leeway to a particular demographic?

Hi @Rusty Thompson

I seem to give much more leeway to the 50 and over crowd.

Isn't this age discrimination? I have a written criteria for tenant screening and I follow that.

I have found myself making concessions for a certain kind of tenant more than any other

I am not an attorney in real or my fantasy life, but I don't think you should be doing that. If one of your other tenants found out, they could sue you for discrimination.

Medium logoSharad M., REsimpli | [email protected] | 619‑786‑3482 | http://reSimpli.com | Podcast Guest on Show #155

I agree. follow the leases and rules to the letter. It is much easier to enforce the rules the same all the time, and much harder to lose a lawsuit this way.

Not sure I have found myself in your shoes recently. One statement that really helped me was, "would you take food from your kid's mouth to feed this tenant/applicant?" Now it's not really that drastic but asking that question, puts perspective on the situation.

It's a business not a charity. If you want to be charitable with your tenants in need, donate to a local agency that helps the needy and let them pass it to the tenant. Also, I consider my charities 10x more needy than I have found my tenants to be. I can think of exceptions but I haven't actually come across any in real life.

Many times the "help" we give, really is just delaying the inevitable. The best help we can often provide is us calling a spade a spade and directing them face up to their situation. This allows them to move on with life sooner rather than stressing them out by allowing them to drag it out over time.

Medium rre 1to1 small sizeBill S., Reliant Real Estate, Inc. | 720 207‑8190

Tenants need to prove to me their income well exceeds their rent first and pass the background and credit check. I don't let emotion get into it cause that's when you are more likely to make costly concessions. @Bill S. is 100% correct, it's a business not a charity. "Professional" tenants are adept at deception and will take full advantage of a soft hearted landlord. Stick to your guns and you're less likely to experience hassles.

One last thing, don't get too friendly with your tenants. I believe it places you in a more vulnerable situation.

@Rusty Thompson

I have my "rules" and I stick to them. I would say that my "pull to leniency" comes from the military population. My pull is not in the qualifications but in making sure that they are "taken care of" ie in processing, showings at odd hours, quick descions etc. I know it is because we are active duty and understand where they are coming form!

Honestly, having a heart as a landlord isn't a bad thing. Making sure that you are not taken advantage is key!

Interesting question. I've allowed myself to be fooled when I've "seen what I wanted to see" or "heard what I wanted to hear" instead of looking at the facts.

Looking back on 18+ years of residential landlording, I can say the problems I most often encountered were a result of not having clear rental criteria in the early days or not following my written rental criteria once I had such in place. Secondly, not effectively addressing rental agreement violations in a timely manner. Thirdly, falling behind on my periodic inspections and thus not seeing things that I needed to know.

I've been most often fooled by a "tenant recommendation" from someone known to me who was trying to find housing for an employee, friend or family member of theirs. These well meaning people may know an individual personally or professionally, but are clueless how the person will be as a renter.

"Rule Breakers" often fool me, because I don't have the mentality of a rule breaker, so I don't always see it coming. I'm getting better at catching the signs.

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

My husband and I are also fairly new landlords (almost 4 years), and while we have not made concessions for a particular group, we did make concessions for our first non-inherited tenant. We had been advertising our unit for close to 2 months, and everyone who wanted it did not qualify, and everyone who may have qualified did not want it (this was a few years ago when the economy was still in the toilet). We finally got an applicant who almost qualified (she made almost 3x rent, her credit score was almost at our cut off), so we rented to her. Lived to regret it (repeatedly paid late, brought in dogs, finally had to evict for not paying rent). We did not make the concession due to her age, gender, race, etc., it was just because we thought that was the best tenant we would be able to get. Now we never compromise on our criteria.

This is an interesting thread.

I've joined a local Facebook group for housing and it seems to get a lot of traffic by people who can't qualify. They get rejected by the property management companies so they are actively looking for independent landlords. Bingo, that's me.

In the past we have tended to try to get applicants "just starting out" into our units, since we know their options are more limited. The good is that they can normally move in right away and often have support from family. The bad is that they often don't have the other qualities we look for - employment longevity, high enough income, bank accounts, etc.

People with pitbulls also have limited options, but we see this as a situation they put themselves in and indicative of being poor renters.

What I have a hard time seeing or quantifying is how high maintenance a tenant could be. If they drive you crazy with unrealistic expectations it is unpleasant and higher risk to end up in court. I am getting better at spotting red flags.

Agree that having policies and rental criteria are the best way to make the decision less personal and more facts and data driven.

I follow my criteria for renting, but sometimes emotion does play a part. Some are yellow flags(caution). I believe in second chances especially when I see the tenant reestablishing. Most do well and stay for years. Yes, I have been burned a time or two but I'm still winning. I chalk it up as experience and keep it moving!

Originally posted by @Rusty Thompson :
Being a fairly new landlord (3 years) and having just gotten into my first multi-family. I have found myself making concessions for a certain kind of tenant more than any other. I seem to give much more leeway to the 50 and over crowd. Maybe its because they are my parents age, maybe its because I see the lack of options they have at the end of their hire able years, but I have been taken in twice by older tenants who have fallen on hard times to my detriment. ...

I view that age group a bit differently I guess, but still give them the same opportunity and acceptance / rejection criteria.

People that age that are still renting are renters rather than owners for a reason. Many times that reason will be due to poor financial decision making, so you have to evaluate their financial position just like any other applicant. That way you do not have them as your tenants while they continue to make poor financial decisions.

There are good (read that to mean acceptable) reasons as to why people in that age group are renters, so you just need to perform screening to weed out those who are renters for the wrong reason.

When I was 18, I moved to LA on my own and applied to rent an apartment. I was a waitress at Bob's Big Boy and barely made enough to cover the rent and utilities. I had no previous rental history and my parents were not supporting me financially. The apartment complex managers, an elderly couple, said I reminded them of their granddaughter and they approved me for the apartment.

Now that I'm a landlord, I know I would never have rented to me ;) No rental history, income unverifiable as a waitress other than hourly minimum wage, tip income always fluctuating, no way it was ever 3 times the rent, etc.

I always paid the rent; there were times my groceries consisted of popcorn and rice, but I always paid the rent. I now have a rental unit vacant and got a call from an applicant 20 years old with a 3 year old child, and when I asked about her rental history, she said "I don't have any, I'm too young! I live with my mother".

She has a job, but my criteria includes a rental history. I give a lot of credit to landlords like @Michele Fischer who give new renters a chance. An apartment complex can afford to take a risk with one questionable tenant; my husband and I own individual properties and can't deliberately take that risk.

Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :
Interesting question. I've allowed myself to be fooled when I've "seen what I wanted to see" or "heard what I wanted to hear" instead of looking at the facts.

I've done this too. I've been influenced by smooth talkers who have a ready, reasonable answer to any questionable item on their application.

Looking back on 18+ years of residential landlording, I can say the problems I most often encountered were a result of not having clear rental criteria in the early days or not following my written rental criteria once I had such in place. Secondly, not effectively addressing rental agreement violations in a timely manner. Thirdly, falling behind on my periodic inspections and thus not seeing things that I needed to know.

I've gotten bitten by these too; the third item you mention just came up when a tenant had to move suddenly. They were great tenants for over 2 years and we didn't inspect regularly (actually, not at all) after the first 9 months or so. A major, expensive mistake that we're paying for now.

I've been most often fooled by a "tenant recommendation" from someone known to me who was trying to find housing for an employee, friend or family member of theirs. These well meaning people may know an individual personally or professionally, but are clueless how the person will be as a renter.

Exactly! We had a recommendation from an great tenant that we loved. Her friend's family was a nightmare that lasted only 10 days in the unit but they still caused damage and we had to give back all their rent and security deposit to get rid of them that quickly. The tenant herself was amazed, and said that she'd known them as friends for years but had no idea what they would be like as tenants.


"Rule Breakers" often fool me, because I don't have the mentality of a rule breaker, so I don't always see it coming. I'm getting better at catching the signs.

Me too. Our condo units require Association approval of a tenant, and sometimes they will catch something in their background check that I missed.