Rent to someone with an eviction - crazy?

28 Replies

Hi guys,

I put up my current home up for rent and as a twist I decided I'll give it a shot and also offer the house furnished and bump up the price (around $350/month extra) since the house is nicely decorated and has everything a renter would need and it's updated. Well, one guy responded, he's the only one that responded and I know it's because the furnished and high rent b/c the area is hot for renters. He seems perfect as a renter, professional, good income job, no pets, low key, willing to give first, last, and deposit. BUT... he went thru a divorce a couple of years ago and you know how that goes, lost job, bad credit AND the biggie, an EVICTION, checking him saw "FORCIBLE ENTRY/DETAINER", if I'm incorrect on this one let me know but from checking the net seems like he was evicted and he wouldn't leave.  Monday I'll call up the lady/place and double check.  

My options: just let him go (which is probably what I will do) but I was thinking, he's not going thru the financial problems he was going thru before, if I can have him put into escrow 2 months rent that would go toward unpaid rent (assuming it's legal, kind of the time it would take me to evict him if somehow it got that point), apart from the first,last,deposit, would you guys ever consider that? 

Huge security deposit if it's legal in your state, if not legal, I wouldn't feel comfortable.

I'd feel no remorse and lose no sleep or time with him, I'd offer him a huge security deposit, like 4 months rent of tell him sorry, maybe you will find somebody else who won't check up on you, adios and good luck finding a place to live. If he won't do it or can't do it, I'd spend no time listening to his reasons, he's a huge risk and the sooner he accepts it the better for him.

If his income and everything else checks out, he's had a steady job, What does his credit say about how he handles his financials.  Are his credit cards maxed out?  find out the details you can about the eviction, also find out his end of the story.  

  See if they match up or if he lies.  Test his character, find out if he blames everyone else or if he accepts responsibility and feels he made a mistake, If your state allows get a larger deposit and first/last months rent.

Or just pass. :) 

The legal limit for security deposits in Michigan is 1 1/2 times the monthly rent. The state publishes a landlord/tenant rights book. It is probably available online though I have a hard copy. You should get one and read it.

I am a HUGE believer of figure out the persons warts and if you can handle them. For me an eviction is a non-start just because of the cost and length if it has to be done again. That being said, figure out the why and if you are willing to handle it .

His income checks out and is very good, his financials are a mess everything related to the time period of his divorce, Michigan Law if I remember correctly is only 1.5 month's rent for security deposit, I wonder if the escrow idea for unpaid rent would be legal and could work. He's coming over to talk, I'll ask him about the evictions and see what he says.

@@Jeff Rabinowitz  thanks, I'll check that out, Mike, Amanda, Elizabeth thanks for the suggestions. Elizabeth, I'm also a believer in second chances, looking more into the person and the whys, we all go thru tough times but I realize this is business and if I get caught into it emotionally I can make unwise decisions, I like the guy, he's giving me my askingand really like to rent to him but I'm hating the idea of having my first eviction. I'll talk to him and unless he's a super good salesman I'll market the house again.

I don't think Forcible Entry/Detainer means he forced his way into a home. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that just means the Sheriff had to use "forcible entry" to get inside the house. Which could just mean that a locksmith opened it up. It is probably a standard term in that area for what we call "Lock Outs".

I would not rent to him. His eviction is too recent. Why do people think that if you get a divorce, you don't have to pay your bills? I hear that excuse all the time.

Where was his most recent residence?  Did that manager have any issues?  If this was several years ago, he has had consistent income, and no more recent problems I would consider it.  But only after really digging into everything about this guy that you can find.

You should stick with your screening policy firmly. It is easy to hand out the key than getting it back.

A flipper bought a short sale from the owner who agreed to move out in 45 days after closing escrow. They refused to move out after closing and filed a lawsuit against the buyer. They settled. But the flipper had to pay $12k lawyer fee and the previous owner got to stay in the house for 6 or 8 month extra. That means the flipper can not work on the project and at the same time he was paying the "rent" for the previous owner to stay in his house. The flipper was right legally. But he is a loser timely and financially.

I have be burned when I gave people second chances not just once. 


Forcible entry and detainer is a legal term of art, left over from the common law days of yore. It's just the way courts name eviction lawsuits, nothing more. It's just an old-school way of saying you're a trespasser (or a squatter).

You mentioned that you are in a "hot" rental market.

If your house is really nicely decorated & furnished, in a desirable neighborhood, and (the big one) priced right from a monthly rent perspective, why would you take a risk with someone with an eviction?  it doesn't sound like from the scenario you laid out that you are in the situation where you have to take what you can get.

I have had clients of mine in Connecticut that have had to consider people with evictions to rent to because of the area and condition their houses were in. That's a different story.

Sounds like your gut is telling you no, don't over think it.

I have a question: if your rental market  is is hot and you got only 1 response could it be that it's BECAUSE the home is furnished and $350 over market? A furnished home is fine for a footloose divorcee but a family or people who want to live there long term have their own furniture. If I were looking and saw your ad I would be thinking, "What am I going to do with all my furniture?"  

I sometimes rent my extra room and advertise it as temporary to students and faculty at nearby Stanford so of course they want it furnished. 

But a furnished house with a lease? Not sure that's the best way to market it, given virtually no responses. 

I agree with @Eva Salas  . I have a couple of rental houses that are furnished. They are always harder to rent for exactly the reason she said - people have their own furniture. They don't want to pay for storing it. I'll bet that if you got rid of the furniture and lowered the rent, it would rent faster.

@@Sean Ploskina  his most recent residence is here in Michigan, he gave me the number of the landlord, have to verify that person is actually a landlord, he's sharing the house so he wants to move out since he's doing financially better. @@BeBe Cheng  that's a sobering story, wow! from what I've heard at least here in Michigan with a good lawyer it's about a month or 2 at most in the majority of situations.

@Michael Noto  you got it, the heart wants to beat up the gut, especially after we had a nice talk today. @Eva Salas  my best case scenario is to rent it furnished, I get paid premium and I get to start fresh in my new place with stuff that fits this new place using the premium to pay for it. I just placed the house back in market unfurnished today and have the leads that I usually have when I list a property in this area but darn it, I was thrilled with renting it furnished with my asking price! would have been perfect. 

Long story short, he didn't deny the eviction, explained his situation at the time, I told him that with an eviction it's very unlikely that I will rent to him but if I think of a scenario that I feel comfortable renting to him with conditions I will let him know. I will call the landlord that evicted him and get the scoop. 

A woman looked at our condo for rent in FL yesterday, very nice grandmother, well spoken, polite, etc. She already lived in the complex and had been approved by the association.

I told her I'd be doing a background check. She volunteered she had broken a lease 5 years ago, didn't say why, but has a steady job and reference from current landlord, who she said was in foreclosure and that's why she has to move.

I checked the county court database (free), and....4 evictions in 15 years, 2 incidents of domestic violence, 1 charge of property damage over $500 and 4 traffic violations.

And that was just this particular county, not even nationwide. I told her no, and good luck in the future. She thanked me politely ;)

I do have a tenant now, she's been in the property for 3 years, and had an eviction filing against her from her previous landlord. She told me about it, I called him, he basically verified the story, said she had lost her job and got so far behind he had to start the eviction. She left before it went to court. While she had a job, she was a good tenant, and has been one for us, too. eviction filing, if corroborated by the landlord, is something I would consider. I've done it myself, and it usually gets a tenant back on track or out of the property. An actual eviction - no way.

As @BeBe Cheng said, it's easier to hand over the key than get it back. And a full eviction means they fought the process all the way to court.

I actually called the landlord that evicted him and she said "run, he's a scammer!", she didn't need say more, furthermore I discovered another eviction. Thanks everyone for the replies. I need to find a cheaper verification website!

Thanks Aly NA , just noticed that you also invest in FL, I used to live there (south florida), do you have rentals there? Doesn't seem like the market is good for rentals there, mainly flips. My brother is a realtor there and was pushing me to buy 3 years ago but back then had 0 money and 0 experience, wish I had been able to, the market has shot up!

Hi @Roy Gutierrez , yes, we invest in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We were fortunate enough to buy most of our condos at the bottom of the market. Things have certainly boomed recently price-wise, but the rental market is great.

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