Potential Tenant Question

9 Replies

I have a potential tenant with bad credit and a spouse with a criminal history (possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest and driving without a valid drivers license, however, they want to pay the whole year's rent upfront. Should I accept them or not? What are your thoughts?

If they have that kind of money lying around I can't help but wonder where they got it.

Watch the movie "Pacific Heights"!  You've already noted 3 big red flags and nothing good here. What are you thinking? It is critical that you determine your market, rental criteria, and do thorough tenant screening/background checks.

I know some landlords will accept this, but personally I would not, for a few reasons:

- First, and maybe most importantly, they don't meet my screening criteria.  Bad credit is a deal breaker for me.  If I made an exception for this applicant, I could get sued by other applicants who had bad credit for not giving them the same opportunity, claiming discrimination (especially if they happen to fall into a protected class and this applicant doesn't).

- Paying the rent ahead of time does not guaranty that they won't trash your unit far beyond what the security deposit will cover.

- Having already paid the rent can make it tricky to get them to leave if there are other issues (repeated noise complaints, illegal activity on the premises, etc.).  Perhaps talk with a lawyer to see what the legal ramifications are of trying to evict someone who has already paid a year's rent, I've heard it can be tough in CA but maybe not so much in TX.  At the very least, you might have to return their rent for the period after you evict them.

- Paying the first year's rent does not guaranty that they'll pay rent after that (assuming you still want them living there at that point).

Those are just my thoughts.  I could probably come up with a couple more reasons if I really sat down and thought about it.

This is not a good tenancy.  Keep looking.

Keep looking! Stick to your requirements! You'll most likely rather a bit more time with a vacancy than rented to a pair of questionable people. That's a lot of cash on hand...they're either very good with their money or they sell...things.

Save yourself a headache and review your screening criteria.

I could rent to somebody with bad credit (read the complete credit history, not just the number). Some ppl made a poor financial decision and short sold their houses or went into foreclosure.

Criminal history for possession sorry, that is a NO.

I like to have a good relationship with the neighbors of all my rentals if I can. They keep an eye on the house for me and tell me what is going on in the neighborhood. They wont like it if I rent the house to a drug dealer, even if I get all the money upfront. 

Thanks everyone for your input - it really helps to reinforce the need to stick to my screening criteria and not be swayed by an upfront payment.  The main applicant is a realtor using a commission to pay, but all of the other points make it too dicey for me.

we just had one that had criminal records in 3 states. mostly resisting officers, some theft, but the one that we didn't expect was "meth on property while kids present"... 

keep looking.

With bad credit and a criminal history they have already showed you the type of tenant they would be.  The offer to pay so much rent in advance just means they've already been denied by other landlords (for good reason) and they're just looking for the one landlord who will take the bait :)  Just remember that you created your screening criteria for a very good reason, to protect you and your rental from subpar tenants.  

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