Harley biker as a tenant?

12 Replies

I know there are equal opportunity laws, anti-discrimination laws and protected classes.

What are your opinions on renting to a guy who's owns a Harley, and is dressed like a typical biker with lots of tattoo.

It's a quiet neighborhood.  Not sure if the noise would be an issue or not.

I know the guy smokes, and I don't allow smoking indoors, I can probably disqualify him on the smoking issue.

However, what do you all think of renting to a biker?

Issues?  Non-issues?

The one time I did to a Harley owner but not hard core biker, he was more interested in paying the note on his bike than the rent. 

Not a chance in hell.  If you like living on the edge as a landlord, you have found it.  If he don't act up, his friends probably will sooner or later.  Don't invite a potential nightmare into your life.

@Sam Leon  South Florida's main outlaw biker gang is, The Outlaws, if you see any identifiable markings of their motorcycle club, or 1%er, things of that sort, you may want to steer clear. Here is a list from the outlaw website of bikers that may be out on parole; list of "tenants" possibly on parole. 

The likelihood of them giving you their real name isn't very high, but you never know. Also, what has he shown for income? If he's offering to pay you one year of rent in advance, that may be a warning sign. 

If he's just a bike enthusiast with tattoos and a job that doesn't mind how he looks, I think, if he can pay, he can stay.

I look at income, credit score and background check. Do these qualify? I deal with higher income homes, and alot of professionals have crazy hobbys (my husbands builds boats, I buy houses and a good friend builds a doom buggy). So I would look at the "whole" picture.

@Sam Leon  dont judge a book buy its cover. I meet a guy who wanted to buy a wholesale deal of mine. He shows up in a rusted s-10 holey jeans and says he will pay cash. I was like this should work well, so when I asked for proof of funds, my title company calls me back what the **LL are you doing this guy owns 200 houses free and clear and buys 10 houses a month cash. Just saying maybe you should do more research first. A friend of mine rents to a manager of a Harley store so he looks the part and makes great money, in fact the guy offered to buy the house off him.

Neither being a smoker or having excessive tattoos qualifies one as a protected class under Federal law so it's not discriminatory to reject him for either of those reasons. 

I guess I am not up to speed on the whole bike gang culture.  All my neighbors for that property are on homes along the river with yachts and sailboats so my main concern is noise disturbances and questionable friends and visitors.  For that property I am asking three months of rent before signing the lease (first last plus security) and he didn't flinch.  He will be submitting an application next week and right now I am not deciding based on that alone but I have to say my spidey sense is up.

Thoroughly vet him as you would any other potential tenant. Point out and explain the noise ordinances and even add an addendum to the lease regarding it if your state allows. The smoking is a whole different story in my book. I know of people who only smoke outside but their place still smells of smoke because it's all in their hair and clothes anyway. But, as a biker, with more than one bike even, I'm a bit put off that some of you would not rent to bikers, just because... Good luck with your tenant search though.

@Andraise Scott   how would someone tell the difference between responsible bikers and the bike gang members?

The bike thing by itself it's not a big issue but with the heavy tattoo the two together is what makes me wonder.  Certainly as I do the screening I'll know more.  Thanks.

You will have more luck with keeping smokers out of your units by setting policy that bans smoking from anywhere on the premises.  We don't rent to smokers because we have never had a smoker who did not at some point smoke in the unit, or invite friends who did.  On average it costs us about $2000 to eradicate tobacco/marijuana smoke from a two bedroom unit. Disqualify him for smoking.

The other items could be red flags too. I once rented to a single dad with kids who had a fake skull hanging from his car rear view mirror. It raised my spidey sense, but I ignored it.  I did a thorough background check and also ignored a couple of other red flags.  Wish I hadn't, he turned out to be a tenant who paid rent the first month, was late the second and third, and took off during the fourth month without paying any more rent.

Also, had a young teen tenant who started sporting what looked like gang signs on his social media sites and in his bedroom, so we checked them out and they turned out not to been gang stuff, but rather related to a punk band.  The comment of checking out the the meaning of tatoos does have merit.  If a prospective tenant passed all of our minimum criteria to rent and I was considering offering to rent, I wouldn't hesitate to ask him about the meaning of his tatoos. Some may have a heart warming story attached and some may be related to involvement in criminal activity.  At least I'd have his side of the story.

About motorcycles... establish this rule: "Motorcycles must have exhaust muffling comparable to that of a passenger car."  Also, do not allow the washing of motorcycle parts in bathtubs. That's my 2 cents!

discriminating against Harley's, smoking & tattoos is not illegal.

If you do not feel comfortable with any of those 3 things you do not need to rent to him. You are not at any risk for discriminating against a protected class. 

@Sam Leon  I don't think you can easily tell, as a "non-biker", who may be one of the good ones and who may be one of the rare bad ones.  I think @Marcia Maynard  has a very good idea though of "just ask" some questions to get more info and a feel for it.  You could say that you have a relative (uncle, brother) who rides and just make light conversation about it and see what comes out. There are many "bikers" who go all out with the bad-boy biker image who are just big teddy bears.  Once again, I would strongly just point out the noise ordinances.  Even bikes with "loud" pipes can be non disturbing if the rider takes care to slowly cruise in and out of the neighborhood.  The smoking for me though would be a definite disqualifier.  As I said in my previous post, even if they only smoked outside, that smell always follows them back in and gets in their clothes and everything else.  But, as @James Wise  said, you don't have to rent to him at all if you're no comfortable with any of those reasons.  Good luck and please keep us updated on your decision.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here