Which tenant would you pick?

31 Replies

I have just finished remodeling a SFH rental property in San Jose area. My goal is to rent it out long term. I have 2 top prospective tenants (the rest are screened out).

#1: Section 8 tenant approved for 5 rooms. Mexican lady in her early 40, which her husband also early 40, 4 kids, 1 grand kids, and 2 foster children. Her current landlord passed away with no heir. She has been living rent free until the bank start to foreclose on the house. 

Pro:

- She has a government jobs for 12 years 

- Show proof that she has paid the landlord her share of the rent every month in the last 2 years leading up to his passing. 

- She stayed at her current place for 8 years, so she is likely to stay longer

Con:

- Her current house is in a more seedy part of town.I asked to visit her house (I want to see how clean she lives), and she seems a bit uneasy about letting me come right away & asked to schedule a time. I'm a bit worry that she won't keep the house in good sharp

- Many kids, which will add wear & tear to the house.

- She might have 1 or 2 adult children living with her as well

- She has one eviction back in 2004. I credit her for being honest, as this should have been gone from her record. 

- She has petty thief conviction when she's 18 or 19.

#2: Non-section 8. Asian girl looking for rent for her extended family. 3 sisters, 1 brother in law, 3 older ladies (mother, aunts), and 1 nephew.

Pro:

- 3.5 adults income (4, but one of her sister has minimum wage job)

- We saw that she keep her current house pretty clean.

Con:

- If they happened to split up, each one of them won't have enough income to pay rent.

- Since they pay by themselves, it's probably a bit harder to raise rent in the future.

We are aware that we not suppose to discriminate base on rate, and we don't. We only  include the renter's rate to give you a complete picture.  What do you think? Which one would be the better tenant? Thank you.

What is your criteria?  Number 2  has all clean background checks?  If so you have one with clean background and one without to me that is a clear choice, the rest of it being relatively equal.  Both meet income criteria I take it?  As for  section 8 being easier to raise the rent on I don't believe that is true. 

I have learned that you can't predict the future. People say they will stay forever and they leave. They have a good job and they lose many times through no fault of their own so judge on what is in front of you.  For the first candidate you would need to have a background check on the 1-2 other relatives also.

If I had to pick between these, I pick tenant group number 2, and I don't really see where the tenant's ethnicity/race makes any difference to your dichotomous situation anyway (i.e., you can leave out "Asian/Mexican"). Why? Because tenant group #1 stayed in a place without paying rent until forced to leave. It makes no difference that the landlord died, she should have been paying someone. 

I would go with two too.

The fact that applicant one has a negative tenant/landlord history already places them as a lower priority.

I would pick #1 a govermeny employee who has section 8 and stayed at their last residence for 8 years!!!!! 

I wish i had 10 tenants like that.

I agree with Colleen I would do a background check on the family members from group #1 I would charge them a fee to do the background check and if they come out clean I would go with group #1....if not I would keep looking and pass on group #2

@Christopher Griffith     # 1 has an eviction/theft extra family checked but i looked back and #2 the background check is not mentioned.  i would go with the clean background check.

 @Albert Ng   Curious who did you go with?

I would go with group 2. Having more people working and less kids to tear the place up. Also having a presumably clean background check. Easy choice if it were me.

@Albert Ng You have created a huge liability for yourself by posting this message.  Some of the criteria you have put forth to determine who you should rent to include race and familial status. You have also posted this incredibly illegal post with what I guess is your real name.  I almost have to wonder if this is a fake because I am so shocked at it.

Russell hit the nail on the head here.. I would leave out the race/familial status and even source of income (all taboo/illegal under fair housing rules). 

Maybe revisit your criteria for objective measures to protect you in the future. There are some books on tenant screening selection (like from Nolo).  

I would look at some criteria and set it, then if someone meets it use a first qualified or best of the pool method for selection (risk management and takes some guess work out)...

Back to the objective facts, I would steer clear of anyone with an eviction, living rent free for an extended time in a manner that was not clearly legal, and theft, think about a policy based on misdemeanors/felonies and a time frame (like misdemeanors ok if 10 years back or not relevant to tenancy)...

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

@Christopher Griffith     # 1 has an eviction/theft extra family checked but i looked back and #2 the background check is not mentioned.  i would go with the clean background check.

 @Albert Ng  Curious who did you go with?

After futher digging, I didn't pick any & choose to leave the house empty + reduce the rental price to get better tenants.

#1 - I asked for 1 application per adult in the house, yet they left out one adult child. Turn out, that adult child is running with the wrong crowd. No thanks! I don't want to get shoot while collecting rent.

#2 - Everything was check out, and they have ok credit. However, they put a friend or someone else as the current landlord & lied about how long  they have lived there. They were ready to move in right away, and willing to put down a large deposit. However, one of their rental condition is no inspection. That don't work for me.

Originally posted by @Steven Torrez :

I would go with group 2. Having more people working and less kids to tear the place up. Also having a presumably clean background check. Easy choice if it were me.

 I ended up reject both. I suspect group 2 is trying to rent for someone else, or to do something illegal in the house).

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

@Albert Ng You have created a huge liability for yourself by posting this message.  Some of the criteria you have put forth to determine who you should rent to include race and familial status. You have also posted this incredibly illegal post with what I guess is your real name.  I almost have to wonder if this is a fake because I am so shocked at it.

Thanks Russell, for looking out. I put everything there so you guy can see the whole pictures, like I do. I don't think it's illegal to mention race or family status on a forum post, as long as I don't use race / family status as a tenant screening criteria (did include a note about that).

By the way, in these days & age of political correctness, I use fake name & throw away email / phone number.  

 I don't think it's illegal to mention race or family status on a forum post, as long as I don't use race / family status as a tenant screening criteria (did include a note about that).

By the way, in these days & age of political correctness, I use fake name & throw away email / phone number.  

You really need to take a Fair Housing class to better acquaint yourself with the laws.  Discrimination does not actually have to happen for you to violate Fair Housing laws. Just a couple years ago the Boston Fair Housing Commission ruled that simply asking the question "Where are you from?" in casual conversation was a Fair Housing violation even though no discrimination actually happened. This cost someone a $75,000 fine. This was appealed to a Federal Court and upheld. The bar is set very low in Fair Housing, and people receive very large fines all the time. I have a colleague who was recently fined $10,000 for simply talking about the crime rate in a neighborhood.

I have no doubt in my mind that if a government agency or a non profit dealing with fair housing issues saw your post, that you would be in line for a very large fine. 

@Russell Brazil Couldn't agree more! I'm glad I wasn't the only one shocked and a bit angry.., As for #1 Why would you want to go to their house? I think if you are trying to see how they live, you can easily just look at their car, which is a lot less intrusive.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

 I don't think it's illegal to mention race or family status on a forum post, as long as I don't use race / family status as a tenant screening criteria (did include a note about that).

By the way, in these days & age of political correctness, I use fake name & throw away email / phone number.  

You really need to take a Fair Housing class to better acquaint yourself with the laws.  Discrimination does not actually have to happen for you to violate Fair Housing laws. Just a couple years ago the Boston Fair Housing Commission ruled that simply asking the question "Where are you from?" in casual conversation was a Fair Housing violation even though no discrimination actually happened. This cost someone a $75,000 fine. This was appealed to a Federal Court and upheld. The bar is set very low in Fair Housing, and people receive very large fines all the time. I have a colleague who was recently fined $10,000 for simply talking about the crime rate in a neighborhood.

I have no doubt in my mind that if a government agency or a non profit dealing with fair housing issues saw your post, that you would be in line for a very large fine. 

Thank you for the tips. Look like I will have to get some more education on the Fair Housing laws. Thanks god I stay anonymous online.

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @Nick Britton :

@Russell Brazil Couldn't agree more! I'm glad I wasn't the only one shocked and a bit angry.., As for #1 Why would you want to go to their house? I think if you are trying to see how they live, you can easily just look at their car, which is a lot less intrusive.

Why angry? I went to their house because I want to see how they live. How they treat their current place is a good indicator of how they will treat their next rental place. Their car was quite new & spotless. Their house was a dump.

I own a very successful property management company and I will never consider asking or going to any potential tenants current home. There are a thousand of other ways to do due diligence. I'm often joke around with my friends and say I'm 100% American, however; I will never discriminate... Saying a "Mexican lady" is being prejudice.

I'm on team tenant 1..

Above all things money is the most important and tenant 1 seems to have their finances in better order 

Originally posted by @Nick Britton :

I own a very successful property management company and I will never consider asking or going to any potential tenants current home. There are a thousand of other ways to do due diligence. I'm often joke around with my friends and say I'm 100% American, however; I will never discriminate... Saying a "Mexican lady" is being prejudice.

 Besides credit / background check, verify income, and calling references, what else do you do for due diligence?

You can find out so much more these days with social media and Google.

@Albert Ng #2

I think you're supposed to select the FIRST qualified Tenant that submits an application.

(so what are your selection guidelines?)

How much you charging anyway?

Originally posted by @Nick Britton :

You can find out so much more these days with social media and Google.

 That is part of my background check (i.e. search court records, facebook, public records ... ). In this case, it helped me determine that #2 keep the house nice and clean, but also reveal that they lied on the application. For #1, all their pictures were taken outside of the house, so you can't tell how filthy & rundown their house actually is.

Originally posted by @Frank Eimiller :

I'm on team tenant 1..

Above all things money is the most important and tenant 1 seems to have their finances in better order 

 Yes, I was about to offer the house to #1, until I paid them a visit and saw that they don't keep their current house in good shape.

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