Would you rent to these tenants?

31 Replies

I am getting close to closing on my first rental property! It is out of state and I have a property manager handling the details for me.  They informed me that they had an applicant that they liked, and that wants to move in July 2nd.  I asked for some information on them.  When I Googled their names the first thing that comes up is an arrest for possession of Marijuana.  It didn't come up in the background check, because it was not a conviction.  So, Would you rent to these tenants? #askBP

Ken

@Ken Cooper

Assuming that this is all the information you have to go on and the fact that 1) you have to rely on a property manager for decisions and 2) the arrest is probably a minor infraction and they are not convicted; I would simply protect your self by using a fair security deposit and move forward. When buying properties out of state, you will drive yourself nuts if you start micro managing.

Medium tetra homes update 50Bill Pohl, Tetra Homes, Inc. | [email protected] | 513.988.3700 | http://www.tetrahomes.com

I would want to know how long ago that arrest was.  If they're 30 years old and had an arrest at 18, then it would be a whole different story than if they were 30 and were just arrested last month.

Dawn Anastasi, Core Properties, LLC | http://www.coreprop.biz | Podcast Guest on Show #29

@Bill Pohl They got first, last and a security deposit.  Thanks for the advice.

@Dawn Anastasi they are both 21 and the arrest was a year and a half ago.  

Originally posted by @Ken Cooper :

@Dawn Anastasi they are both 21 and the arrest was a year and a half ago.  

 I personally would not rent to such a young couple with a record. It sounds like you have already accepted deposits though? If the property is in a decent neighborhood and you think you could get better "more mature" "non-drug using" tenants you should pass on these. How long did it take for the property management company to find these folks? Ask them to present at least 3 different tenants prior to making your selection. I am no expert on out of town property management but I would pass. 

This post has been removed.

I'd probably be more worried about them being 21 than the arrest.

if just possession for personal use and not seller quantity I wouldn't worry. 

It was not a conviction,  There area lot of "drummed up charges" by overachievers in our lives today. Association with someone can get everyone charged that gets dropped later. 

I wish all tenants, had background checks, all tenants had perfect credit scores and no one had pets. But that's not a reality .

You have hired a Property manager, to do the due diligence on your property,  Sounds like you don't trust their judgment. We all have past lives, The difference is some got caught and some didn't doing what ever they did when we were fool hearty kids.

What's allowable in states like Colorado isn't every where else.

My approach to drugs is pretty basic. We tell them when they move in that We don't tolerate it. The sheriff doesn't need  a warrant We have a key and it's Our house. That's usually when they decide to go find another place to live. Usually a 5 minute discussion during the interview process and that solves a lot of my problems.  My business partner does most of the interviews , all he tells them about me is "You don't want to meet that guy".  The good cop, bad cop thing!

There are a lot of responsible pots heads out there.  What does their last two landlords say about them?  If they take care of the place and pay their rent, I wouldn't get too hung up on a personal possession arrest.  However, if it was more serious than a personal possession, definitely pass on them. 

Marijuana? Really? I agree with @Chris K. that the 21 is more of a problem than the weed. Not that I smoke myself - but once you've been doing this for a while you will see that it is more common than you thought. When its something heavier, you can worry. Potheads don't cause much in the way of problems. Just in my experience. 21 year olds on the other hand are tough.

Did your PM Google the names and see the arrest before thinking that are acceptable?  Maybe you should discuss with the PM what you have found. 

What do you have in place for rental criteria regarding criminal background? Are you specific for only convictions, or do you also filter based on arrests?  Do you discern between felony and misdemeanor?  Do you allow for unadjudicated arrests (could go to trial and then incarceration)?

You need to have a policy and written criteria, and then those documents lead you to your decision. 

Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom.  Maybe because this is my first rental I am being more cautious that a more experienced landlord.  @Steve Babiak we googled the names on our own and let the PM know.  @Rhondalette W. I have asked the PM for other potential tenants.  

Thank you again,

Ken Cooper

They will smoke pot in your house. It will happen, guaranteed. I have rented to people with possession charges a couple of times, thinking it was no big deal. Then, when I went to do a maintenance check, the places reeked of the stuff. Really obvious they were smoking inside. I would pass on this one.

Originally posted by @Chris K. :

I'd probably be more worried about them being 21 than the arrest.

That sounds like discrimination based on age, which is illegal.

Originally posted by @Kimberly T. :
Originally posted by @Chris K.:

I'd probably be more worried about them being 21 than the arrest.

That sounds like discrimination based on age, which is illegal.

 There isnt a state in the USA where being aware of someones age is illegal or discrimination. Not renting to them based on their age would be illegal.

Originally posted by @Chris K. :
Originally posted by @Kimberly T.:
Originally posted by @Chris K.:

I'd probably be more worried about them being 21 than the arrest.

That sounds like discrimination based on age, which is illegal.

 There isnt a state in the USA where being aware of someones age is illegal or discrimination. Not renting to them based on their age would be illegal.

Unless the rental unit is situated in a community for those aged 55+. 

Dude how can we judge these tenants if you don't tell us about their income, job, and credit? You only gave us 1 piece of the puzzle.

I agree with @Account Closed on this one. if they use the stuff they will most assuredly smoke it on the premises regardless of any assurances they may give otherwise. You just don't know how extensive their engagement in the drug subculture is, all you know is that they are involved and that this has attracted the attention of the authorities. I accepted a tenant who I knew had been arrested for having some pills. I wrote it off as youthful indiscretion, which was a big mistake. I received information from a number of sources that he was a dealer, and went to discuss it with the police. Not my idea of fun. They finally had enough to arrest him and rammed the front door as they did so. That and lawyer's fees, vacancy and repairs due to damage ran easily around $7,000+. If I come across a tenant with any drug involvement whatsoever they will be rejected. They are not worth the risk.

@Andy Kaye true, that is only one piece of the puzzle.  They are a 21 year old couple, he is a sheet metal company and makes 3500 a month.  she is a student and not working at this time.  They both have good credit, but because she isn't working her mother is co signing.   

The property is in Indianapolis, and rents for $795?mo

Why would you call the police on your own tenant?   Of course they will wreck the house and never pay you a dime for it. I can see trying to avoid getting tenants like that in the first place but once they are there the last thing you should do is call the police on them. Besides that they won't be in jail forever and might not appreciate the fact that you snitched them off.

Hi,

I would request letters of recommendation from their employer and other sources, and have your property manager speak with each source. But most importantly, you need to know their incomes and credit history. If anything is fishy, have them pay the year up front or move on to other prospective tenants. 

Best,

Barry

Ken: A little weed doesn't hurt much if it was for self consumption and not distribution. Initially, I was concerned but seeing that your PM managed to get a co-signer on this contract speaks well for him / her. Being 21 is what it is and somehow we all made it.