How do you calculate combined income in a situation where there is a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and a mutual friend sharing the property?...and is it prudent to get background checks on everyone, or just an application? (using Trans Union My Smart Move and an application)
First off, do whatever is necessary to run complete background, credit, eviction checks on all 3 individually. Also, make sure to get paystubs from each of them as apart of the completed application.
A lot of the advice I would give from here would depend on specifics of the background checks. First off, if their take home income combined isn't at least 3 times the monthly rent than I wouldn't even bother running their background if the income isn't there.
To answer your question I would evaluate each persons income separately, but use their collective income to qualify. Make sense?
Also, if you are dealing with 3 people who all work and make a decent amount of money ask for 2 months security. While it's good to have 3 incomes coming in, there is also some risk of people randomly moving out. If you have the 2 months security it mitigates your risk a little.
In most states, it's illegal to discriminate based on marital status. I don't know if Ohio is one of the few exceptions to that or not. Assuming it's not, then you should evaluate them like any other group of applicants - verify all their income, run their credit/background, see if the sum of all their income meets your minimum (3x rent, or whatever your minimum is), etc. In other words, if you would count a married couple's combined income to meet your minimum, you have to do the same with non-married couples.
I've honestly never heard of anything regarding discrimination against/for roommate situations, so I don't know if you can or should somehow count the other person's income separately. Generally, in those situations, landlords just add up everyone's income and see if the total meets their minimum required income.
Not a lawyer, not legal advice. Consult a lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.
thanks for information. much appreciated
I struggle with this too. I've been given the advice that in a roommate situation, every single adult should meet your requirements, so if your requirement is 2.5x rent, each individual should meet that. Reason being if one roommate moves out you want the remaining roommate(s) to be able to cover the rent. That makes sense.
But in reality, that doesn't seem quite fair. As someone mentioned, if you had a husband and stay-at-home wife, obviously she wouldn't qualify since she has no verifiable income, but you would probably rent to them as long as the husband earned enough money. So why would it be different for roommates? Obviously it's easier for roommates to split up leaving one behind, but plenty of married folks split up too.
Marital status is not a protected class in Ohio which I think makes it OK to use different criteria for roommates vs marrieds, but I try to be fair.
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