How do I decline these people? HUGE lies on the application.

11 Replies

Had 3 people stop by my rental house to view it: a father and 2 teen sons. They said that was all the people who were going to move in. Received their applications today, same story.

I called their current landlord and he tells me the father is actually living there with 6 kids, ranging in age from teens to mid 20s. Plus the landlord said he discovered they were hiding a dog (golden retriever) there exactly 1 week ago, but suspects the dog has been there for years. Landlord suspects they are now finding a new place to live because he said "no dogs".

So these people are obviously going to **** me over by secretly moving in 4 additional people plus try to hide a dog at my rental house. But the applicant swears over and over and over that the other 4 kids + dog are moving to live with their aunt, out of state.

How can I legally deny these people without just saying "my instincts tell me you are bull****ing me"

Thanks for the help. This is my first rental property and I didn't expect this situation.

Hi Joey, It's pretty simple to deny an applicant. I always tell my potential applicants that I accept applications until a certain date and then pick the best of the applications. I never give a reason for denying an application because that opens you up to liability. If you don't feel comfortable denying an applicant, just don't call them back as it sounds like you wouldn't want to rent to them in the future anyway.

Doesn't really matter how many people are really planning to live there, or if the "aunt" story is true or not. They didn't observe the terms of their lease at the last place, so there is no reason for you to believe they'll observe them at yours. That's a perfectly good reason to deny. 

Is the rental reference your only source of screening information? Did the landlord serve any notices or file an eviction? Consider contacting the former landlord, since a current landlord may lie about their current tenants. Believe it or not, this happens.

You should obtain a credit report and eviction record search to see if these applicants have a history of breaking their lease and/or leaving property damaged. You should accept them if they meet your screening criteria and make sure your pet policy and amount of occupants is clearly stated in your lease. 

If you do deny them, be sure to send an Adverse Action Notice to remain compliant with the FCRA. Also, document everything to protect yourself in case you are sued for discrimination. I'm available to help screen your prospective tenants, so feel free to contact me directly if needed. Good luck!

Originally posted by @Alex Hamilton :

Is the rental reference your only source of screening information? Did the landlord serve any notices or file an eviction? Consider contacting the former landlord, since a current landlord may lie about their current tenants. Believe it or not, this happens.

You should obtain a credit report and eviction record search to see if these applicants have a history of breaking their lease and/or leaving property damaged. You should accept them if they meet your screening criteria and make sure your pet policy and amount of occupants is clearly stated in your lease. 

If you do deny them, be sure to send an Adverse Action Notice to remain compliant with the FCRA. Also, document everything to protect yourself in case you are sued for discrimination. I'm available to help screen your prospective tenants, so feel free to contact me directly if needed. Good luck!

 Yes, he was screened through mysmartmove.com and has decent credit, no criminal history, and no evictions. My application only asks for landlord/housing info for the past 5 years - he's been living at this last place for the past 4 and claims to have been a homeowner before that - but went through a divorce so opted to move with the kids and rent.

I think this current landlord is NOT lying because he said nothing good about them. Some late rent payments, hiding the dog, and he had no idea this renter had that many adult children living at his property. 

Originally posted by @Michael Noto :
I can't believe the current landlord actually told you the truth and I can't believe even more so that the tenant gave you the owners info knowing it was likely you would get the truth. Bad references is a reason to evict. That's a reason you ask for them in the first place, right?

 Ha! The landlord was the only honest person. This applicant didn't even give the landlord's name - he listed the landlord as his oldest kid. I noticed the same last name. Then I searched on the assessor's site, found out the owner, then googled the owner's (landlord's) name and got a hold of him that way.

It sounds like the negative rental reference would be just cause for denial. I'm still curious why the landlord didn't file an eviction. Don't forget to send the Adverse Action Notice. Also, make sure you keep all documents associated with this applicant for 25 months in case they file a dispute.

Originally posted by @Will Stewart :
Poor landlord reference is reason enough to deny.

 I second what @Will Stewart says.  Do not deny them based on size of family, deny them based off the landlord reference.