Crazy applicant withdrew, what is my next step?

8 Replies

Hey everyone, had an odd situation happen and I was wondering what you guys woudl recommend that I do.

Had a VERY interested couple show up to a showing and filled out an application and wrote a check for the app fee's. She has been texting me non stop about how excited they were and whatnot. She then called me at 9 o'clock at night crying about how her current landlord is only giving her 10 days to move out. (don't get me wrong, all kinds of red flags here, I'm not asking whether to accept them or not.)

I calmed her down and said I would process the application as quickly as possible for her. She then sent two more texts an hour later (so now this is 10pm at night) saying how desperate she was and another about how crazy her landlord was being. I responded that I understand the situation she is in, but I would advise her to keep our conversations as professional as possible.

Then this morning I receive a text message saying she'd like to withdraw the application. I have not run credit or background yet, or deposited her app fee.

So my question is this, do I send the check back with an adverse action? or do I just shred the check and not send an adverse action since I didn't decline due to credit?

Thanks in advance!

Personally, when dealing with crazies, I prefer to clean the slate so I would mail her check back to her with a note saying "in refund for the application withdrawn by you via text message on <date> for property located at <address>" and leave it at that.  You could probably technically keep the money since they did apply, but to avoid giving crazies any reason to dislike me, I would give the money back.  No need for any adverse action since you haven't processed their application.

I only accept the application fees in cash or money-order/cashier's-check and I make them sign a sheet of paper stating that those money are non refundable. 

If they want to give me a deposit check, I accept personal checks ONLY if they are going to move no sooner than 14 days (It takes my bank 10-14 days to clear the check). Otherwise I go with money-order/cashier's-check. In both cases I tell them that their check will be deposited to my bank the moment they leave(take a picture with my phone and upload it to the bank) so they must have funds in their account. I cannot waste my time verifying them if they are not serious. One may think that a $35 non-refundable (per person) application fee would make people more serious but about half of the time they are not. 

I fully refund their deposit check though.

In CA we have some strict laws that govern the screening fees, so you may want to check your local state resources about that. Here is what they say about it in CA(http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/lo...):

"The application fee cannot legally be more than the landlord's actual out-of-pocket costs, and, in 2012, can never be more than $44.51. The landlord must give you a receipt that itemizes his or her out-of-pocket expenses in obtaining and processing the information about you. The landlord must return any unused portion of the fee (for example, if the landlord does not check your references)."

I am not sure whether the screener's time can be counted as a cost but screening a candidate does take time: running a credit check, contacting all previous landlords and current place of work. I may spend 60+minutes on that. 

I agree with @Susan M.  . Mail the crazy woman her check back with a note and be done with her. Then thank your lucky stars she is not your tenant.

Haha, you guys are great! =) thank you

I don't take application fees so I would not encounter your situation, but we do encounter your situation of people giving us sob stories and frequent/pushy/late night texts.  If an applicant stands us up for appointments, is late for appointments, repeats themselves a lot, is overly assertive, has really long messages/answers, and/or contacts us after 9pm, they lose points on our screening process.  All things being equal, we want a less drama filled tenant.  Good luck finding another and better applicant!

Mail the check back and be thankful that she is not your tenant.   I have a text nut at the moment and she just moved in..  I am thinking of making a no text rule because one crazy email I can take but text allows this stream of consciousness to come in my direction and I don't like living in someone else brain.....

Out of curiousity. Would you refrain from telling them to keep it to a professional level? Or tell them something to the effect that texts come through as emails and you will only be checking them between the hours of 9-5?

The problem with the texting nuts is that they only send three words, then another four words in a separate text, and then a few more words after that - all to just express what somebody would express in a single thought so one text message would suffice.  Drives me bonkers when my wife's friends do that on her phone; thankfully, I don't have any such nuts texting me :)

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