Screening tenant and his wife

7 Replies

Hi all I have what sounds like a simple question.  I am currently screening a tenant who and he will be having the background check.  Should I be doing a background on the wife as well.  She is not a co-signer so I don't see any reason why we need to.  As long as she is listed on the application do you guys think that is sufficient? Thank you in advance.  I really don't want to screw this up.  

Everyone 18 or older who's going to be living there gets screened.

@Jon Holdman thanks for the reply.  For what reason might I ask?  Since they are going to be on the lease?  The husband has enough income and seems to check out (unless proven otherwise by the background + credit check).  As long as one of them qualifies we should be all good right?  Sorry, I'm just looking for the philosophy in the whole matter.  Thanks again. 

People break up and divorce all the time. What if they get divorce or he just straight up abandons her and leaves her at your property and she does not want to move out? Now you have an uphill legal battle in a tenant friendly state (California). If you read the BP forums, you will read about nightmares like this where the tenant is gone but the boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband is still there and are squatting and not paying rent. Key thing is don't wrap this noose around your neck and kick the chair down the line. Fix it now before it gets any worse. A tenant friendly state like CA and NY is nothing to play with, Cover Your A**.

Anyone having tenancy in the unit, over age of 18 is screened, criminal background check per person is what your looking at,,if one of them don't meet criteria then you have to reject the application..

Credit wise you combine the 2 incomes to see if they meet the credit criteria,, one may have good credit / income,, one may not... but combined they still would need to meet the criteria set.

A person, even a child is a tenant,, they are listed on lease as minor child , date of birth.

If your criteria is 2 people and the couple has a child,, then they would not qualify for the unit they are OVER occupancy.. 

Yes, as stated already, you need to screen everyone 18 years or older, and everyone 18 years or older also needs to be listed as a tenant on the lease. 

Just because one makes the income needed doesn't cut it. What if the wife has something in her background that makes her a bad choice to allow in your unit? Or she has a lot of debt in her name, but perhaps in your state, by marriage, that would make her husband also on the hook for said debt?

Never blindly just let people move into your properties.

Its not just income, and that's not necessarily what you're screening for with every tenant.  Criminal background is the biggie.  But credit, also.  You want to watch out for a situation where one person qualifies, but doesn't actually intend to live there.  They're just trying to get a place for the spouse (or maybe not).

Screen every adult. There are may out there that use one spouse on accounts and trash their credit while prospecting the credit of the other. If one has bad credit you reject them both.

As stated you also do not want to be left with one tenant that can not afford the place and forces you to evict.

You need to use your best judgement based on the couple after you screen both.

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