Renting to Young Couple

23 Replies

Hi fellow BPers!

I'm renting a unit from my duplex and a young couple are very interested. Both are in school with one on a scholarship and are working however...the boyfriend works for his brother's construction business and doesn't have W2 to prove income since he gets paid cash. The girlfriend is a waitress and receives tips. She assures me her father would pay $600 leaving them to pay the remaining balance (I'm asking $950 for rent plus $25/per pet/per month) They have 2 pets so rent comes out to $1K/month. 

I asked if her father would co-sign and she said he wouldn't so I asked for her father to write a letter saying who is his and that he will pay $600 towards the rent for the duration of the lease and to have it notarized to which she assures is understandable and doable.

Should I consider them or keep looking?

NEXT!

Id say no go. I'm not sure of your criteria for renting but I always ask for 3 months rent. First months and  2 months security. If they don't have this just think how they handle their finances and priorities. They should be able to afford in rent their annual income divided by 40. We ask for a additional months rent if credit is below a 600. 

Hopefully everything works out!

Unless they have 700 scores I would pass.   If daddy pays..  daddy signs too.  

Skip the notarized letter about the father promising to pay rent. If the Father doesn't want to co-sign the lease, then you have no applicants actually able to qualify by having 3x the rent in income. Since the applicants don't qualify on their own, they don't meet your criteria or sign the lease with you. You'll otherwise be evicting 2 tenants and 2 dogs in the near future....

Why are you even asking?  This is an easy rejection.   You really haven't found any better tenants to consider? 

Reject and move on.

Steve said it best - just move on to the next applicant(s).  Don't feel you need to bend over backwards to accommodate these applicants.  Good luck!

this is coming from some one who is a renter. I say give them a shot if it feels right when I moved into my house with my now wife she wasn't working and was in school full time I was full time and in school part time. We didn't have 3x income(was only $250 off) and he was nice enough to prorate first months rent to help us out. We've been in the house 2 years never been late or done anything to Break lease rules and now I'm useing him for private money but it all started with him trusting us and his gut

Just for posterity I will explain the thinking behind "Next".

Undocumented income is the classic for deadbeats. If you have no income then to get around that tell the newbie LL you have income you just can't document it. This is the case for both tenants. They are professional tenants and once you give them the keys they will stall and put you off as long as they can so they can stay free. The second option is that these people might be able to afford rent but they have some form of illegal income that they are hiding with this ruse. The last option is their story might be 100% true but experience says it's not worth your time digging through the facts to figure out which is true.

On another note, for waitresses, most meals are paid for with a CC and so tips are also paid with CC. I was told this by a restaurant manager. Since it's paid with CC tips go to the w2 and pay stubs issued by the employer. Their pay stubs will reflect actual income in most cases. He said if you want to be generous you can probably add another 10% which would cover the cash tips. This was for a middle of the road restaurant. 

Construction is a notoriously unstable source of income. It's seasonable and very transient as a general rule. This is especially the case for entry level skilled workers and laborers. 

If Dad won't stick his neck out for his kid and her husband, absolutely no reason for a landlord to take a risk.

When you find yourself working harder than the tenants to get them qualified that is a sure sign to back off and re-read your rental criteria. 

All landlords should write down their rental criteria and review it when considering situations like this. As a rule, never change the criteria when you are trying to fill a vacancy.

A vacancy is a blessing compared to a bad tenant.

@Bill S. - you nailed it in great detail. I'm on my phone, so "NEXT" is short and sweet and easier on the darned phone keypad. 

BTW - for those proclaiming self employment or compensation via 1099, get IRS form 4506T ...

If the father won't consign, please don't lease to them. You will have a lot less headache if you find another tenant.

Run the other way.

Figure out your criteria, and don't get side-tracked by any cute looking, sweet tenants who don't meet it.  

How does a con man con people?  Confidence.  A con man is a confidence man.  Someone who is believable, who you want to believe.

Tenants need verifiable income.  Sure they have reasons not to report their cash income, and honestly I don't blame them.  But, I also don't rent to them, if their verifiable income doesn't qualify.  And no co-signers, and definitely no promises that somebody else will pay the rent on a unit the applicants don't qualify for, and isn't willing to be an official co-signer.  What's up with that, anyway?  I promise I'll pay, and put it in writing, but not in writing as a co-signer?  Wow, could there be a bigger red flag on that one?

I also learned to just say no co-signers.  It will save you a world of grief.

Learn to smile back to the cuties, and say, gee I wish I could approve you...but I can't.

Originally posted by @Joseph Fellick :

this is coming from some one who is a renter. I say give them a shot if it feels right when I moved into my house with my now wife she wasn't working and was in school full time I was full time and in school part time. We didn't have 3x income(was only $250 off) and he was nice enough to prorate first months rent to help us out. We've been in the house 2 years never been late or done anything to Break lease rules and now I'm useing him for private money but it all started with him trusting us and his gut

 Well if you were a landlord you'd learn pretty quick that randomly "giving people a shot" when they're clearly not qualified will lead to a lot of uncollected rent and evictions.  Yes, sometimes it works out but if I believed everything an applicant/tenant told me without being able to verify it I would go broke. 

Next!

IF he won't sign, than he's that into support in his claim!

There has to be MUCH better tenants out there! While I am all about giving someone a chance. You don't want problems.

@Ayodeji Kuponiyi We rent to low income and fixed income folks, but we have very specific rental criteria. We're even a little more flexible than most landlords, but we have 20 years experience under our belts and know what to look for and how to mitigate our risk. The information that a prospective tenant provides on the rental application must be verifiable, or it doesn't count.  We also require additional deposits if we decide to accept someone who may be marginal and/or higher risk.

If you're interested, you can take a look at our rental criteria and tenant screening questions. I uploaded them into the BP File Place. Go to: Resources: File Place: Other Documents... then look for "Rental Criteria" and "Tenant Screening Questions". They are just one example of what you could use for rental criteria. Feel free to borrow ideas from them or modify them to meet your needs.

The applicants you describe would not meet our minimum criteria to rent, so we would deny them and send them a denial letter, which in our state is called the "Adverse Action Notice."  There are numerous red flags, as others have noted. They would not have made it past our telephone screening interview.

I have two things that are going to completely contradict one another. 

I myself am in the construction business during the day and am a server at night and i would absolutely love to have myself as a renter! If I could I would duplicate myself a million times over to rent to properties.

 That being said, from a landlord point of view I would definitely be extremely cautious if dad will not cosign. I would probably pass on them. Just some food for thought ! 

The dad is not supporting them by cosigning, why should you risk it.  I would  only give people like this a chance with verifiable income and a co-signer.  As many have said set the criteria and stick to it. I am suspicious when someone wants me a stranger to support them when they can't  get a family member to do it.