Too many adults

32 Replies

We have received a rental application from a couple who probably would meet our financial rental criteria but they have listed that another family will be living with them. They are US citizens and will be sponsoring another family, their niece, with her three children. The niece  will be coming to the US to learn about American life and the children to go to school. The children's ages are 19, 15, and 12.  The apartment they are applying for is a 3 bedroom with 1.5 bathrooms. We think 4 adults is too many for this apartment. We think the wear and tear on the apartment will be considerable. How can we say no? Our rental application states no more than 2 per bedroom. We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments. We did not foresee this situation.  

@Karen Dayley it sounds like you need to read up on landlord/tenant law. You can't discriminate against a family for having too many children. Thats actually a federal offense. Its a violation of the fair housing act. 

What are the number of vehicles?  Are you paying utilities?  These are what causes problems for us with more people. We limit vehicles to 2 based on our parking.  These are actual impacts not anticipated issues. 

As you probably know you can' t discriminate by family size if you reject someone like this it has to be on the merits of the application.  Is there a reason you think adults would be worse then 2 parents and  4 kids? 

This is not a situation of a family with 4 dependent children. This is family bringing another family to live with them.  

@Karen Dayley "We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments" is a direct violation of the fair housing act of 1968. You cant discrimate based on family status. You shouldn't be a landlord and I hope your tenants turn you in to the Dept of Housing & Urban Development. 

Originally posted by @Karen Dayley :

This is not a situation of a family with 4 dependent children. This is family bringing another family to live with them.  

 Charge $100 per extra adult.  This will either give you more money in exchange for wear and tear or they will decide it is too much and move on. Either way it looks like a win for you.

Listen to Rob. It could even be that these people are essentially, "mystery shoppers" working for a fair housing/civil rights/tenant's rights outfit.

You really need to figure out what your legal obligations are.

Originally posted by @Rob Beland :

@Karen Dayley it sounds like you need to read up on landlord/tenant law. You can't discriminate against a family for having too many children. Thats actually a federal offense. Its a violation of the fair housing act. 

Question:

I’m renting out a really nice apartment and I don’t want it to be overcrowded or too noisy. Can I limit the number of tenants without getting into legal trouble?

Answer:

You can set a limit to the number of people who can live in your rental—as long as you comply with all relevant housing laws. State and local health and safety codes that set maximum limits on the number of tenants (based purely on the size of the unit and number of bedrooms and bathrooms) may support your limit on number of occupants. But you are not free to set unreasonably low figures (for example, two people for a two-bedroom flat) in order to maintain a quiet atmosphere or to reduce wear and tear. Federal occupancy standards require landlords to allow two persons per bedroom—unless you can point to legitimate business reasons that justify a lower number (this is difficult to do). And state or local occupancy standards may allow even more people in the rental than the federal law does. If your occupancy policy limits the number of tenants for any reason other than health, safety, and legitimate business needs, you risk charges of discrimination against families. Before you set an occupancy limit, contact your local and state housing authority for information, or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the specifics in your area. For contact information, check the “State Info” section on the HUD website.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-limit-the-occupants-rental.html

Originally posted by @Rob Beland :

@Karen Dayley "We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments" is a direct violation of the fair housing act of 1968. You cant discrimate based on family status. You shouldn't be a landlord and I hope your tenants turn you in to the Dept of Housing & Urban Development

Man Rob you had to learn somewhere, let's at least try to help her before you send her to prison.

@Karen Dayley I would check with your local HUD office to see. Some areas get by with a two person per bedroom limit. Other areas say two per bedrom, plus an additional person. So for a three bedroom that would be 7 people. So whether you like it or not, it sounds like you have to rent to them. Fair Housing is the #1 way land lords and Realtors get into trouble. HUD takes this stuff very seriously. In fact HUD actually sends out field testers to apply for housing to see if you are going to violate the Fair Housing Act. They send out field testers to test Realtors too, and you would be surprised how many Realtors and landlords get caught violating Fair Housing laws. I hear several stories a year of people in my area getting caught by the field testers.

Originally posted by @Rodney Williams :
Originally posted by @Rob Beland:

@Karen Dayley "We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments" is a direct violation of the fair housing act of 1968. You cant discrimate based on family status. You shouldn't be a landlord and I hope your tenants turn you in to the Dept of Housing & Urban Development

Man Rob you had to learn somewhere, let's at least try to help her before you send her to prison.

 

Oh you'll find out about overcrowding in prison.  Long gone are the two to a cell with Bubba days.

Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:
Originally posted by @Rodney Williams:
Originally posted by @Rob Beland:

@Karen Dayley "We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments" is a direct violation of the fair housing act of 1968. You cant discrimate based on family status. You shouldn't be a landlord and I hope your tenants turn you in to the Dept of Housing & Urban Development

Man Rob you had to learn somewhere, let's at least try to help her before you send her to prison.

 

Oh you'll find out about overcrowding in prison.  Long gone are the two to a cell with Bubba days.

 I used to manage a dorm like this in a Max facility. 

I default to the Texas law which is 2+1 per bedroom. The fact they were upfront about the arrangement is a good sign to me. If all else checks out, you go with it and hope for the best. A group of conscientious people can do a lot less damage than a singular turd can.

Originally posted by @Rodney Williams :
Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:
Originally posted by @Rodney Williams:
Originally posted by @Rob Beland:

@Karen Dayley "We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments" is a direct violation of the fair housing act of 1968. You cant discrimate based on family status. You shouldn't be a landlord and I hope your tenants turn you in to the Dept of Housing & Urban Development

Man Rob you had to learn somewhere, let's at least try to help her before you send her to prison.

 

Oh you'll find out about overcrowding in prison.  Long gone are the two to a cell with Bubba days.

 I used to manage a dorm like this in a Max facility. 

 Manage?  I'd love to hear the discussions, "Guys, I'd like to share some concerns I have."

Listen to Rob follow the law and definitely don't add extra requirements for tenants after someone applies. A family fee however you vail it will definitely throw up some red flags.

Originally posted by @Karen Dayley :

We have received a rental application from a couple who probably would meet our financial rental criteria but they have listed that another family will be living with them. They are US citizens and will be sponsoring another family, their niece, with her three children. The niece  will be coming to the US to learn about American life and the children to go to school. The children's ages are 19, 15, and 12.  The apartment they are applying for is a 3 bedroom with 1.5 bathrooms. We think 4 adults is too many for this apartment. We think the wear and tear on the apartment will be considerable. How can we say no? Our rental application states no more than 2 per bedroom. We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments. We did not foresee this situation.  

 You said that they were going to sponsor another family. Do you require a background/credit/employment check on all adults living in your building? Also do you require that all people living in your building be on the lease? I do, and if you are unable to do these things for the adults in the other family, you are under no obligation to rent to them.

One of my concerns is that this may be a case of switcharoo. Basically, the couple is getting the apartment in their name, they move in their relative, but the couple never moves in the apartment, only the neice and her kids. Turns out the niece has no job, bad credit, and no money, and can't pay the rent. You lose a ton of money.

Have you all read

Federal Register/Vol. 63, No. 245/Tuesday, December 22, 1998

This doesn't support Rob's points. We are not discriminating based on number of children. Landlords do have some discretion on occupancy policies under the Fair House Act. Read it.  The Frank Keating letter clearly states this and outlines the other extenuating circumstances. I am familiar with our state and local laws and abide by them. I was more concerned about this situation for completely other reasons that I am no longer wishing to discuss on this forum. I was hoping for some level headed discussion and opinions but clearly that is not what is being offered, Lesson learned on my part.  

Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:
Originally posted by @Rodney Williams:
Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:
Originally posted by @Rodney Williams:
Originally posted by @Rob Beland:

@Karen Dayley "We added this so people with 3+ kids wouldn't try and rent our 2 bedroom apartments" is a direct violation of the fair housing act of 1968. You cant discrimate based on family status. You shouldn't be a landlord and I hope your tenants turn you in to the Dept of Housing & Urban Development

Man Rob you had to learn somewhere, let's at least try to help her before you send her to prison.

 

Oh you'll find out about overcrowding in prison.  Long gone are the two to a cell with Bubba days.

 I used to manage a dorm like this in a Max facility. 

 Manage?  I'd love to hear the discussions, "Guys, I'd like to share some concerns I have."

 That's hilarious!

Originally posted by @Karen Dayley :

Have you all read

Federal Register/Vol. 63, No. 245/Tuesday, December 22, 1998

This doesn't support Rob's points. We are not discriminating based on number of children. Landlords do have some discretion on occupancy policies under the Fair House Act. Read it.  The Frank Keating letter clearly states this and outlines the other extenuating circumstances. I am familiar with our state and local laws and abide by them. I was more concerned about this situation for completely other reasons that I am no longer wishing to discuss on this forum. I was hoping for some level headed discussion and opinions but clearly that is not what is being offered, Lesson learned on my part.  

 You mentioned your concerns then asked how can I say no. To summarize the comments...

1) You can't say no

2) Charge them more (Dont say no)

3) Demand a background check for every adult (Dont say no)

4) Deny on a different basis (Say no)

Your saying you know all the laws governing denial of said applicants, so nix point one and just deny them for whatever reason you deemed legal. The lesson you should learn is if you want legal advice ask a professional and if you want pubic opinion then ask publicly on a forum.

Originally posted by @Rob Beland :

@Karen Dayley it sounds like you need to read up on landlord/tenant law. You can't discriminate against a family for having too many children. Thats actually a federal offense. Its a violation of the fair housing act. 

True, but there may be a local ordinance that supports the situation. For example, in the state of Michigan you could only have two people per room, but in the Michigan city of Houghton there are further restrictions such as no more than two unrelated adults can live in a rental property. 

Read up on your local and state laws or better yet, contact your attorney. 

A tricky situation, but I think what Mike said is what I agree with most.

You don't have to deny them on the basis of the amount of people. 

Alternatively, you could adjust your lease to protect your investment.

Charge a higher deposit

Require all adults to pay for an application fee ($35 will add up for them)

From the surface; I would definitely consider them as tenants. Since there are quite a few of them I feel like there is less of a chance they will not pay rent. 

@Karen Dayley , don't let a couple cranky people put you off.

If they were applying for one of my units, I would apply the same application standards I do for every applicant. I qualify every adult (18+) that will be residing there.

If they meet all your standards, they qualify.

@Karen Dayley This is an interesting question that I've been curious about as well.  I haven't had to deal with it yet though.  

I've seen the statement below in most of the local property management application packages addressing this issue.  You'll definitely want to look at your local laws and check with your local property management companies.

" Current occupancy standards are a maximum of 2 persons per bedroom, except for infants under 4 years of age. However, some city and county municipalities and/or homeowners associations prohibit more than two (2) unrelated adults or more than one family to reside in a single family dwelling unit."

Originally posted by @Rob Beland :

@Karen Dayley it sounds like you need to read up on landlord/tenant law. You can't discriminate against a family for having too many children. Thats actually a federal offense. Its a violation of the fair housing act. 

Karen: Additionally you can't discriminate on family configuration. You don't get to decide that 3 adults is too many. Either the bedrooms and additional living space is adequate per HUD or it's not. A typical 3/1.5 is adequate for the number of people requesting to live in your unit. I suggest you do not enter into any conversations or suggestions that your unit is not the proper size.

The applicants are proceeding correctly in telling you who will be living in the property. (Since they can't just slip in 4 new tenants after they move in.)  You do have rights to request to do a financial and criminal check on all adults (including the 19 year old). You have the right to require a meeting with all applicants. You do not have to rent to people who are not yet in the country and cannot participate in the application process.  

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