Rental Applicant wants me to cancel showings?

32 Replies

Hi Everyone!

My rental is available this coming August and I've started talking to applicants. I have scheduled with my current tenants a day to show the house to several interested people (Open house by appointment on one day rather that having to bug the tenant a bunch of times). One applicant made the assumption that she "had" the property if she wanted it. She wants me to cancel the Open Houses, send her the application and hold the house for her... I haven't even met her yet. I would like to meet my applicants and weigh my impression of them in my decision. How would/do you handle this?

I would just tell her that you will continue showing and accepting applications until someone is approved and pays the security deposit.

I would tell her that is not how it works. Then I would explain to her that people lie so the property will be shown until an acceptable tenant passes the screening process, signs a lease and puts money in my hand.

I would also personal question whether a tenant who think they know how I should run my business belongs in one of my properties.

@Sandy Spence What "cancels" a showing in our business is the following:

1, Run the credit check, and  verify employment on all the applicant who shows interest. (we charge a $30 per adult aps fee and this helps to get rid of the flakes right away)  

2, If the above verification is done to your satisfaction is done than, you request a Nonrefundable holding deposit in the form of cash, cashier's check, or money order.  The amount will depend on the amount of time is involved but generally not less than two weeks of rent and ofter is a month of rent. And usually if they give us 4 weeks of rent or more we give them a lease as a receipt, other wise a piece of paper saying it is nonrefundable holding deposit etc...

3, Finally we only cancel the advertising, showings etcc until AFTER you have the money in your hands. Until than business as usual.

If you follow these simple steps it will save you $1000s over just a few short year! I know we wasted a lot of rent waiting for someone for "just two days here" or "three days there"

until we realized to NEVER wait until money is in hand! 

Ps forget personal checks!

According to our local District Court Judge: "Personal checks are not money, just a promise to pay at a later time and as such promises can be broken"

I continue to show and market the property until I have a qualified tenant who has given me a holding deposit.  I ask for the holding deposit within 2 days of acceptance of their application, and like to sign the lease within a week.  

I would be wary of anyone willing to rent without seeing the property and meeting me first, especially someone who is making an assumption like this lady.  Sends up the "high maintenance/ pain in the rear end" flag to me.  

Kelly

Thank you for the responses! I am fairly new to this and this lady caught me off guard. I am already leaning towards no with her. I see some red flags already and agree with the high-maintenance red flag!

Whenever I explain the process (the same line by line items above), I give every single one of them the reason why I require the deposit before I'll stop showings and/or tell any applicant the house is rented.

I share with them the story of the two separate incidents I had a few years back where the people bailed on me after I told the other applicants it was rented.  One of them was literally calling me every other day telling me how they couldn't wait to move in. On the date we were supposed to meet to sign the lease, they no showed. Then told me some relative thing came up and they couldn't move in.

Once I explain the reason why I need the deposit up front, then they tend to agree that makes sense and I don't have any issues.  Doesn't mean they can't back out from the deal. But if they do, the money is nonrefundable.  The only exception - which I note in the deposit receipt - is if something occurs to the house and I can't deliver it (i.e. fire, flood, etc), then they would be given all their money back.

But if you explain the reasoning, I don't think you'll have anyone object to doing it. Not unless their intent is to hose you in the first place.....

@Sandy Spence - did your interactions with this tenant go like this:

********

 My name is Gwen Long, was born and raised in Essex,
Vermont . I speak English and a little Spanish, am single, clean and
respectful of others, don't have any pet but no problem if you have
got pets. My Dad is from Colchester, Vermont and Mom is from Cheyenne,
Wyoming. I'm 23 year old female, I attended University of Vermont
Burlington, VT and graduated last year.

I would be there for my MS in Environmental Science. I'm presently
on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina on a research program working with
United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but would be coming
down soon. I would have love to call you, but here is a remote area
calls hardly go through but i receive text messages. please send me
some picture of the room because i will not be able to come over and
check on it before moving in.

I would love to know more about yourself. If you are a
student?,worker?,married or single? if there is a garage or parking
space because i will be coming with my own car. Let me know the total
amount for the deposit and first month rent, I will be paying upfront
so that you can be rest assured that i really do want to secure the
room.


I will be paying you via a Bank certified check, so kindly get back to
me with the below details so that i can ensure you are ready to rent
the room to me. I would be signing necessary documents/Lease at the
point of my arrival because i have got no printer and scanner here
with me.

HERE ARE THE DETAILS NEEDED

***Full Name:
***Street Address,City,State,Zip Code:
***Cell & Home #:
***Total amount for move in:


Kindly get back to me with the details requested so that i can get
it across to my father to issue out the check for the deposit and
month rent upfront asap, with that you can hold on the place prior my
arrival.

Thanks for your co-operation.

*****************

In subsequent dealings with this woman, she demanded more and more firmly that I take the ad down.

This is a scam - what happens is that "her father" sends you a cashier's check, but it's for double the amount.  When you contact her to tell her, she gives you wire information to send the difference back.  But you can just do that right now.  You don't have to wait for the check to clear because it's a cashier's check, right?

Wrong.

The check is bogus and uncollectible and because you voluntarily wired the money to somebody, that part of the transaction is not fraud and you can't get your money back.

I did not get taken by this one, but I got similar emails from three different women within 4 days of putting an ad up.  I researched the issue on the many Craigslist scam websites and found it, complete with the woman's name (Gwen Long).

Originally posted by Account Closed:

I would just tell her that you will continue showing and accepting applications until someone is approved and pays the security deposit.

Exactly. Do this.

@Linda, Wow! That is amazing! I think mine is more just entitled and high maintenance. Not nearly as over the top! Mine decided the bedrooms were not big enough, thankfully! 

I did not stop showings until I had a signed contract and a deposit, and I told applicants this.

I disagree with the current trend to not have tenants sign their contract until move-in date.  I don't understand this trend.  I wanted a signed contract before I quit showing a unit.  And their deposit.  I would let them pay rent when they showed up for the keys, though.

If you just include a clause that says that the contract is void if you can't provide the unit on move-in date, you're covered.  I think some landlords worry about a previous tenant moving out on time, or work being done on time, but you can cover this with a simple clause that says if the unit is unavailable on move-in date, due to no fault of the landlord, the contract is void.

And by the way, renting to someone who expects this kind of ridiculous treatment, is bound to be a high maintenance tenant after they move in.  Tenants who expect the waters of the world to part before them, will be nothing but a pain in the butt.  So, I highly recommend you look very closely at their application, and deny them if at all possible.

Been there.

@Sue K. The issues with signing a lease, say a month before move in with just a deposit, is that of they don't pay the first month rent, they have a lease and are a tenant and have the right to occupy it until you go thru the eviction process.

@Sandy Spence you need to familiarize yourself with Ohio landlord/tenant law. Somebody mentioned a $30 application fee and a deposit to hold the rental. Im in MA and both of those are against the law for a landlord or his agent to charge. When asking for help like this you should always tag your post with your city/county and state. You have received lots of great tips for other states but they may not know the laws in your state. Good luck. 

@Wayne Brooks the easy solution is to collect the first month's rent at the same time. Also they may have a lease but not the keys. You can also put in your lease that is for some reason you are unable to deliver the unit for reasons beyond your control (old tenant fails to vacate) that the lease is void and you will return the funds.

@Rob Beland This is a little off topic but I have to ask. Are you saying you can't take an application fee in MA or was it there another issue I am missing? I knew MA was tenant friendly but that seems crazy. 

Correct @Thomas B. . Landlords in MA cant charge an application fee. We can charge first, last, and security (equal to one months rent) and a lock changing fee. 

Continue to show until a lease is signed. I have had times when I thought everything was a done deal, only to have the accepted applicant disappear, never to return.  Now I know about deposits to hold, which changes that game.  I literally  just re-read "Landlording on Autopilot" by Mike Butler this week.  If you haven't picked up that book, I highly recommend it! 

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :

@Sue KellyThe issues with signing a lease, say a month before move in with just a deposit, is that of they don't pay the first month rent, they have a lease and are a tenant and have the right to occupy it until you go thru the eviction process.

 Not at all.  The contract says the date they move in.  But, they sign it now.  This binds them to the move-in date.

In other words, you can have them sign a contract today that says the move-in date is August 1st.  The contract says you have collected the security deposit.  And you both sign it with today's date next to the signature.  My contracts said that they could pay rent on move-in day and they must do so before they would receive the keys.

You now have a contract that binds you both to a lease that has a move-in date of August 1st.

Easy peasy.

In my opinion, you need to make it very clear to her who owns the property. You definitely want to be respectful in the matter and apologize for giving her the impression that she had it, but the prospective tenant needs to know from day 1 that you are the boss and you will be the one selecting the tenant, which may or may not be this lady. Start the tenant training before she is your tenant.

So @Sue K. is in Florida. And every other poster is from another state. How does that help her with her state specific landlord/tenant law?

Originally posted by @Rob Beland :

So @Sue Kelly you are in California and @Wayne Brooks is in Florida. And every other poster is from another state. How does that help her with her state specific landlord/tenant law?

 It's basic contract law.  I think you need to chill on the state law monitoring LOL.  You can write a contract anywhere that says it will start in two months.

I find this post funny. I would just let the tenant (you haven't met yet) know that you haven't and won't make a decision until after a certain date. If you think she is being a pain in the neck now... Wait... Just wait... until she moves in....

I would tell her that you will let her know when a decision is made. And then once you find a great tenant that you properly screen, give her the courtesy of letting her know about the awesome tenant you found that unfortunately beat her out. 

The solution is to take a holding fee that converts to a deposit on a specific performance. You don't want to take a deposit you sign the holding agreement because the assumption is that the tenant will get that amount back if it is a deposit. By taking a fee there is no assumption they will get it back unless they perform by paying first month's rent on time. You can also put in that agreement that the contract is void (and they get their money back) if you are not able to deliver within 10 days of the move in date. This helps if the tenants leaving are a few days late. 

@Sue K.

Originally posted by @Mark B. :

The solution is to take a holding fee that converts to a deposit on a specific performance. You don't want to take a deposit you sign the holding agreement because the assumption is that the tenant will get that amount back if it is a deposit. By taking a fee there is no assumption they will get it back unless they perform by paying first month's rent on time. You can also put in that agreement that the contract is void (and they get their money back) if you are not able to deliver within 10 days of the move in date. This helps if the tenants leaving are a few days late. 

@Sue Kelly

@Wayne Brooks

 Sorry, Mark. Not in California, anyway.  You can't keep their money, no matter what you call it, unless you can show that by not moving in, they cost you that much money in actual out-of-pocket damages.  Because in CA there is a duty to mitigate damages.

In my very bossy opinion :-)

@Sue K.

As good as the market is here it probably won't be turned around in a day, so at least some of it will be retained if that is true. You have to keep in mind that they have received something of value for that fee - I'm not going to rent it to someone else, even if I get a better offer. That offer could be in the form of  a higher rate, more qualified tenant, or some other better term.

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