On the fence about this potential tenant

3 Replies

We are first time LL with a 3/1 SFH. From our ad in the local paper we received two calls and the second caller passed the phone screening. She is retired military with a disability (SS), going thru a divorce. The house is totally new construction and aside from doing some landscaping and installing porch railing, we've had to do little else. Potential tenant saw the house, filled out the application and passed the background check. Notified her that she passed the background check, I said we should meet at the house to do the walk thru and sign the lease. Said she was in another town trying to sell a vehicle and would be available yesterday afternoon. I called her yesterday morning to set up a time to meet in the afternoon, left a message and never received a text or call. The alarm bells are going off in my head! I'm wondering if she's going to be this way when it comes time to pay the rent or am I being paranoid because we're new to this game? This is a small farming community (pop. 3500), so there isn't a lot of rental traffic; no apartments, or duplexes only houses and trailers.

Thank you all for your input, it is most appreciated.

Don't be desperate by chasing after her.  It seems she has moved on.  If not, I wouldn't rent to her now if she were the Queen of England.  She doesn't have any respect for you or the courtesy to return your calls.  Next Please.

Don't ever rent to someone because you are desperate to have that home rented.  Let's say you waited for her to return your call, no other interested people applying for the home, she finally contacts you, and you rent to her because she is better than nothing. 

She moves in, stops paying her rent two months later and now you are evicting her.  

After the eviction is over (about 2 months process to 6 months to get a tenant out) you find damages.

So, by being desperate, you lost rental income anyway because she didn't pay the rent, and now, a once move in ready house, is now another rehab job.  You have lost more money by renting to someone when desperate, then if you just wait for the right one to come along. 

Ask me how I know?  I was new too, once upon a time.

Nancy Neville

You left a message yesterday morning,  keep showing to other prospects.   If you hear from her and it sounds like a reasonable reason to not return the call in 24 hours then go ahead and set things up to proceed with the rental. I will say that my experience with people in the process of getting divorces is that they are very flakey so there is a good chance she is moving on or decided to do something different , get back with the spouse etc.  Could also be miscommunication between the two of you.  In any case keep showing until you have a deposit in hand.

One of the things I added to my criteria, was that I denied people who were late to appointments (gave them a 15 minute window only, unless they called and had a good reason like they were stuck in gridlocked traffic), if they didn't call back when they said they would, or drop off documents when they said they would, etc.  Anyone who doesn't respect my time also won't be a good neighbor in my experience.  They're the ones who will park crazy and take up two spaces, "forget" to pay rent on time, play music too loud, etc.  They expect the waves to part before them as they move along with their own agenda, regardless of how they affect other people.

Plus, if I could ever find a valid reason to deny someone going through a divorce, I did, to be honest.  Statistics say people who are going through, or are newly divorced move an average of something crazy like 9 times in the first year.  They will usually break their lease, or only stay a month or two if you have a month-to-month agreement.  I actually had one guy move in and immediately give his 30 days notice - they got back together, again...

Plus, there can be drama with the ex, loud arguments, etc.

So, I highly suggest you put into your unadvertised, but your personal written criteria, that you don't rent to anyone who doesn't show on time, or doesn't call you back, etc.

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