Picking my next tenant

18 Replies

looking for some insight on selecting my next tenant...

I'm doing my applications through Cozy and I've used a lot of the guidelines I've learned about on BP...just trying to figure out my "deal breakers"

House is up for $1675/month which according to all my research is just a tick below market....I posted on all the normal sites and have had a TON of inquiries...like 60+ contacts.... 2 open houses with 14 groups actually showing up...... but only 3 submitted applications. One was a definite NO based on interaction at the open house....one has pretty bad credit, collection and heavier debt, plus he never even came to the house....

The third candidate seemed promising, but now I have my doubts. She came to an open house and seemed nice, daughter in mid 20s very nice and respectful, another just turned 18


5k/month verified income....meets that...her YTD on her paycheck is 66K....and she has a daughter that makes 30k year living there also

Credit score over 600.....hers is 650, 30 k in debt, mostly a car loan...$900/month for debt payment in total

No issues with background check, no collections, no evictions on record, not section 8

Have a call into her employer....

So I contacted her current property management company.....she has lived there for about 30 months...rent is $1150/month. She gave 30 day notice, moving closer to work.

But she has 9 late rent payments....

June 2015...2 days

July 2015...8 days... 3 days notice given

Aug... 6 days...3 day notice given

Feb 2016...2 days

March 2016...1 day

Aug 2016...1 day

Jan 2017...3 days

July 2017...4 days

Aug 2017...1 day late

She has paid the late fee each time

So my big concern is ....rent is going up quite a bit...but she has the income....and 9 late in 30 months.........which is a red flag for me...... but I haven't had many applications submitted despite the heavy interest......

Its on Zillow if you want to check it out.... 158 Shadywood Ave Lathrop CA .....B neighborhood.....

So...she meets the other requirements, but the late payments bother me...... but I have not had a ton of candidates to choose from so far.... deal breaker?

It would bother me. If you offer her the place you know that 3-4 times a year she will probably be late, are you ok with that? Maybe do a month to month for 6 months before signing something long term?

@Ned J. ,

No tenant is better than a bad one!  I would personally wait and see if you get a better applicant. 

She was late 2 months ago, 3 months ago, she has a history of showing that  it isn't that important of  a payment.. and for the rent to go up $600 seems like a big change..  what's the deal with her daughter?    Does the daughter have any payment issues?   If you do decide to go with her, check your state laws about late payments, and charge the most you can because you know it will likely happen.. also, check if you can offer any type of discount if paid by the first?

If your state allows it, put in your lease that 3 or more late payments (maybe within a certain time period) can result in termination of lease. I've included my lease language below to ensure you get the fees if they are late, and the language that should hopefully limit the lateness altogether. 

Rent. Tenant will pay to Landlord rent in the amount of $X (the "Rent"), payable in advance on the 1st day of each month, and is delinquent on the next day. If that day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the rent is due on the next business day. There will be no rent increases through the initial term of the lease. Landlord may increase the rent that will be paid during any month-to-month renewal period by providing at least 30 days written notice to Tenant. All payments made by Tenant to Landlord after the tenancy commences, no matter how designated by Tenant, will be applied as follows: first, to any outstanding amounts due for damages/repairs; second, to any outstanding utilities; third, to any outstanding service charges and fees from prior month's; fourth, to any rent outstanding from prior months; fifth, to any service charges or fees due in the current month; and finally, to the current month’s rent.

Payments should be sent to:

Payment address: _________________, or at such other place as Landlord may designate from time to time.

Payments can be made by using one of the following methods of payment:

Acceptable forms of payment: Venmo, Personal check, Cashier's check, Cash.

Tenant agrees to submit rent payments by one of the methods above. In the event of roommates, or another form of joint or multiple occupancy, Tenants will be responsible for collecting payment from all parties and submitting a single payment to Landlord. Tenant is responsible for any payment made by mail and not received by the due date stated herein. Mailed payments must be received on or before the due date. 

Late Payments. In the event that any payment required to be paid here-under by Tenant is not made within 3 days of when due, Tenant will pay to Landlord, in addition to such payment or other charges due here-under, a "late fee" in the amount of $35.00 plus $10/day until paid in full. Landlord and Tenant agree that three (3) late payments any 12 month period constitutes chronic lateness and may be considered a just cause for eviction. 

Got some more info... property management policy is due 1st, late on 3rd.... Seems common to start “late” at 5 days...

In Bridgeport, Connecticut the state gives 10 day grace period from the 1st of the month after which the 3-day notice can be served.

A few days late and paying the late fee is acceptable in my opinion especially if she's financially qualified.  This could have been due to the way weekends or holidays fall as well.

I would take her.

If you take her on you need to learn how to operate profesionally as a business rather than trying to figure out how how you are going to deal with her late payments. Late payments are never acceptable and you need to establish that up front. Do not get yourself in the trap of depending on her rent and not wanting to get rid of her due to the pain of finding a new tenant.

Here is what you do if you decide to accept her.

Met with her and let her know you are considering her as a tenant however her lack of responsibility regarding paying rent on time is a concern. Tell her you are willing to offer her a M2M lease but the first time she is late by even one minute you will be issuing her a non renewal notice. No questions asked no excuses. If she pays late even once she is gone. She would be an idiot to accept unless she feels you are a push over landlord but on the other hand you would be a push over if you accept her and do not issue the non renew the first time she is late.

I personally would not take her on as a tenant knowing full well I would be getting rid of her within 6 months. Unlike most landlords I do not tolerate late payments.

Still undecided..... if I had some other candidates, I would unquestionably pass..... I'm disappointed that I didn't get more actual applications........ had decent turn out at open house and quite a few seemed very interested...but no application. TONS of tire kickers with emails and calls.....

Usually the landlord that compromise on the quality of tenant will get burned.

Funny thing is when you make the decision to compromise you always know it is a mistake my hope you are wrong. Being right sucks.

I know...my gut says "don't do it".....my wallet says "hey dude its $$...she pays, but its late..but she pays"......

I think the deal breaker is her rent is going up $500....AND she was late at the lower rent.....not a good combo....

Another kicker....she wants to move in ASAP since she gave 30 days notice and that is up tomorrow....and she doesn't have a place yet....probably because other landlords turned her down :)

Yeah....the more I type this, the more its a NO....

What is the daughter’ credit? I am concerned to have so many late payments when the rent was lower than your apartment. I probably would not rent to her u less it was only on a month to month basis. Even then I don’t think I would. Since you had so much interest quickly I imagine if you continue to post your apartment online and host another open house you will receive more applicants.

Did not run the daughter credit...only background.....got her paycheck and she doesn't make much $$...

I informed her that we declined the application due to a history of late payments. She was cordial and respectful and says she has hardly ever been late....and the info the property management provided was incorrect. She says she has rented from this property management company for 5 years, 2 different houses.

I encourage her to contact the property management company to discuss anything she felt was reported in error. If the property management company can provide me statements about any errors that were made, I would reconsider her application.

She wrote back that she has contacted the PM and discussed the information error and has offered to obtain more written details about rent payments. I requested a detailed history of her rental payments for the entire 5 years she has rented through this PM company...not just the current one....

I personally wouldn’t do it and I think because your in the middle of it, you may consider budging. I’m pretty confident until my money is on the line myself but based off of that info, it seems as if she really doesn’t care OR she is having a hard time making ends meet. The income could be on point however her money could be going elsewhere and not be gettin reported such as shelling out for family, gambling, a peer to peer loan (i’m not 100 percent sure if those show up in your report) etc. If you want to consider it, i’d look at doing what someone suggested as far as including a 3 month late clause or simply ask her what’s going on with her late payments.

A tenant that consistently paid late fees and never skipped paying rent?

Sounds like easy money to me!

To be honest, I would have taken her. She pays the late fees.

I've got one that pays late every other month or so, they always pay by the 10th. They know even if its a day late they pay the extra $50. Married couple, both work at steady jobs, no kids at home, no bad habits, just bad with money I guess. I don't mind the extra couple hundred a year and they take really good care of the house! A few late payments wouldn't deter me. You might consider asking for a higher deposit.

@Ned J.

I consider late not paying the rent by the first. Whether or not the lease stipulates 3 or 5 day grace period. I personally wouldn't take her. It seems like you've only been listed for about a week. Have you contacted local realtors and let them know it's available? That may give you another set of renters. Also is the price truly competitive with others in the area? 

If I were to take her, I would likely require automatic payments and an additional month security or last month rent paid upfront. Your lease can also say that a $50 late fee will be due after the 3rd day and a $10 per day late fee each day after. Also anyone over 18 living in the place we charge an app fee and check their credit. 

yeah I had considered the "well she pays the rent, its just late....so that's extra $$ I  make"....

Haven't contact agents...figured Zillow/Cozy/Hotpads/Trulia etc was sufficient since 90% of people look there rather than go through an agent....

Didn't run the credit on her daughter since the main applicant met all the income and credit requirements by herself..... but I guess some of moms $$ may be going to pay off her daughter bad spending......do I put that as one of the requirements to reconsider her app

Consulted my eviction lawyer about what I can/cant do in my lease in CA....its either a late fee structure OR have being late as a contingency to terminate the lease....can't do both.

So this AM, this is where I stand..... required a detailed history of payments for the 5 years she has dealt with the current PM company (actaul dates paid and amounts...document has to come straight from PM), full credit report on her daughter also. I am also having my eviction lawyer review and re-structure my lease to be covered IF I accept her.....considering double rent deposit in addition to late fee structure

Got the ledger from the current PM- quite a few lates, but she pays the late fee.

Doing another open house tonight and this weekend.....but my inquires have dropped like a hot rock....posting up 9 day now....have over 1k views...70 inquires the first 6 days.....about 14 groups toured house......3 apps.....and now the views and inquiries have really dried up....almost none in the last 72 hours...... is this because its beginning of month and if you were moving, you did it already? WTF.....

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