Accepting a tenant with an eviction

66 Replies

I'm looking for my first tenants right now and had come to the conclusion that I wouldn't take ANYONE with an eviction, but I may break my own new rule.

I've also decided that I want long term tenants and I'm not going to be a slumlord. I've budgeted for repairs and have maintenance agreements.

Other than a CURRENT eviction, one prospective tenant appears to be rock solid so I'm wondering if people think the pluses outweigh the eviction.

Everything isn't verified yet but here's what I can see so far:

  • Same residence and landlord since 2000
  • Income is 120% of my requirement
  • 2 FICOs (married) in 700s
  • Tenant lost eviction mediation - court filings show tenant stayed through hurricane repairs and frequently did own minor repairs but withheld rent because range was broken for 4 months. Tenant was allowed to stay until end of this month.

I'd like to hear what other people think? Especially if anyone has any kind of experience with this type of a situation.

Thanks much!

Assuming your information is complete, it appears to me that adverse circumstances befell both  parties.  I would look at the CR 30,60,90 day lates and any collections as a final acceptance criteria.

She withheld 4 months of rent over a stove repair? Can buy a stove on craigslist for $100. Theres always more to the story. If the judge sides with the landlord, i would too. Evictions are a definite no for me.

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Originally posted by @Tracy D. :

She withheld 4 months of rent over a stove repair? Can buy a stove on craigslist for $100. Theres always more to the story. If the judge sides with the landlord, i would too. Evictions are a definite no for me.

 Once the tenant starts withholding rents for repairs, they can do so until the repair is effected, but the amounts must be held in an escrow account.  The price of the repair has no bearing on the issue, which is why the LL must be prompt to get the work done.

The dispute escalate out of control by unreasonable choices on both sides IMO, and the eviction is evidence of push and shove to the loss of both parties - - loose-loose.

That the judge sided with the LL is evidence enough for me. You can rent to all the previously evicted tenants you'd like. As for me, I prefer my tenants to pay rent and not give me cause to evict. Ive heard every excuse for prior evictions there ever was in the book. Its a no for me. I dont really care what the reason was. 

newb to biggerpockets....so, my two very little cents:  

i'd stick with your initial plan, "don't lease to anyone with evictions."

we know the pain of waiting to getting a lease filled is certainly challenging...but, dealing with evictions/problems in the future is 100x more challenging. :(

First I would never accept a applicant with and eviction record. Not paying rent due to personal life situations is one thing but a tenant withholding rent is completely unacceptable.That mentality in a tenant is something landlords should never tolerate.

Evictions filed without judgements means they are problem tenants. I do not rent to any applicant that I scenes may be a problem regardless of the reason. Applicants are a dime a dozen you just keep looking till you find the one without red flags.

When I screen applicants I do it with the goal of finding reasons to reject their application. When I get to one that I can not find any reason, even the slightest red flag, I have one that I can do a deep screening on. I do not waste my time digging into any applicant with even tiny flaws. 

There is always an inherent risk in renting to someone who has an eviction on their record - regardless of the reason. If you do decide to rent to this person, I would charge a higher security deposit - as much as you can legally to hedge against unpaid rent or lawyer fees from this tenant.

Good luck!

I recently broke my own rule of not accepting anyone with an eviction twice, and won't likely do that again.

First one was a 22 yo girl with a 15 month old daughter going to a local community college and working.  Her income was great, 4x rent, credit was fine and no criminal history.  She had one eviction on her record from when she was 18- story went that she found a roommate on craigslist who moved out a few months into the lease and she couldn't pay on her own and didn't know what to do.  They took her to court to get her out.  I verified that story with the management company, and talked to her current landlord, everything checked out.  She moved in Nov. 1 and did't pay rent in January, so now she has 2 evictions on her record and owes me about $1000.

The second one is a mom and her two adult daughters who had signed a lease with the previous owner that started 2 weeks before we bought the house.  They were perfect tenants, paid on time every month and wanted to renew.  The mom's record came back with an eviction from 5 years ago which she knew nothing about- they had moved out of a bad situation (drug addict living upstairs and stealing from them) and the landlord filed 3 months AFTER they moved.  Her address record matched up with her story and when I talked to the owner of her place she was evicted from (got contact info from my own records search), and he didn't have a clue why anything would have been filed on her and no longer employs the manager that had been the one to file the case...  We renewed the lease given almost year long history we have had with them, and the story being backed up independently.  I doubt we'll run into a case like this again...

@Jeffrey Duck

Why would you even consider breaking your own policy? To answer your question, I would never rent to someone who previously had an eviction. There's no reason to. My properties are very well maintained and there's a sea of good renters that have no prior evictions to choose from. Past performance is always an indication of future performance.

Good luck!

Originally posted by @James DeRoest :

An eviction is always a big no no.

An eviction doesn't mean that they didn't pay rent, it means that they didn't leave when requested to.

Exactly right. It does not matter why an eviction was served or whether it went to completion. The fact is they were asked to leave, pay rent owed or what ever and ultimately the tenant forced the landlord to serve. Once a tenant forces a landlord to take action it is an indication of the type of person they are and if they do it once they will repeat if they deem it necessary.

It is like stealing. If someone does it once they have the potential to do it again and as landlords our responsibility is to reduce our risk by eliminating applicants that have a potential based on past practices.. 

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Originally posted by @Thomas S. :
Originally posted by @James DeRoest:

An eviction is always a big no no.

An eviction doesn't mean that they didn't pay rent, it means that they didn't leave when requested to.

Exactly right. It does not matter why an eviction was served or whether it went to completion. The fact is they were asked to leave, pay rent owed or what ever and ultimately the tenant forced the landlord to serve. Once a tenant forces a landlord to take action it is an indication of the type of person they are and if they do it once they will repeat if they deem it necessary.

Absolutely. It's one thing to deprive a landlord of his rent, it's a whole different ball game to deprive him of the asset itself. Tenants cross a line when there is a need for an eviction.

I'm curious to hear why you would even consider it. Are there no other applicants for your property? Is it a large apartment building with lots of vacancies which you need to fill quickly? Are they offering to pay you a higher rent than you requested? Are these friends of yours?

An eviction is a huge red flag, but I think keeping an open mind to hear the whole story is good.  it is hard to believe some folks without corroborating evidence.  Folks can tell you a lot of convincing lies.  I do not have the luxury of  a large list of high quality tenants.

Originally posted by @Jerry W. :

An eviction is a huge red flag, but I think keeping an open mind to hear the whole story is good.  it is hard to believe some folks without corroborating evidence.  Folks can tell you a lot of convincing lies.  I do not have the luxury of  a large list of high quality tenants.

 Nope, we never keep an open mind about why someone was evicted. We will not be told the truth, the only thing that is verifiable is that the tenant was forced to leave.

Whilst you may not have a large list of high quality tenants, you shouldn't ever be in the position where you need to consider a bad tenant. Personally speaking, I'd rather leave a property empty (and sometimes we do) than get a bad tenant. At least I know an empty unit isn't going to get trashed by a bad tenant.

I agree that it is better to keep a unit open open rather than put a bad tenant into it, but not everyone who gets evicted was a bad tenant or will be a bad tenant.  I have rented to at least one or two folks who I actually prosecuted and put in jail.  My goal is to be fair, but an eviction is a big red flag, it is not always a deal breaker.  I can however understand your reasons and rules.  I probably should be stricter in my screening, but it usually works for me.

Once you take someone with an eviction , you have to drop that from your list of tenant qualifications .  So if they wish to get out of the lease early you have to take the next person that qualifies , with an eviction . Or you are discriminating 

Providing you directly verified the tenants' wages with their employer's I'd say you should be very optimistic about these people. They sound like very good tenants who will stay forever provided you repair the place quickly should it be hit by a hurricane.

@Matthew Paul I disagree. The OP did a thorough review into the circumstances of this potential tenant and determined that based on the mitigating circumstances of his eviction combined with their income exceeding his expectations with 20% makes them a good credit risk. This is perfectly balanced reasoning and he can reject a different tenant whose picture is similar in that it has an eviction but other components aren't there to overcome it.

The key to avoiding discrimination problems is to always evaluate the person as an individual. Anytime you have hard and fast rules you wind up having them disproportionately affect one "type" of person. It's natural because you have one "type" of rule. Well, that's discrimination.

Never ever rent or lease to anyone that has had a court eviction. If you follow this rule in the long run you will be more successful. I have felt many times that it seems like you will never find that right tenant but believe me they will come. Its much better to turn down 10 good prospects than accept one bad one. Taking pride in your properties like I do is being picky about who you let someone use your properties.