Tenants financial documents, references, are false. what can i do

46 Replies

Hello, my realtor found a tenant for me who appeared to have high income and great references. come to find out that all are falsified. she stated she worked for a government agency and that was false, reason I know is I found her on facebook and she is self employed - WITH BAD REVIEWS AND ONE OF THEM WANTS TO SERVE HER - YIKES, I can also see who she used as references, which are her FACEBOOK FRIENDS -NOT HER EMPLOYER. she was a little bit hostile when I asked her to provide renters insurance for her dogs and said she would not do it, although she apparently makes $400k a year - realllllyyyy??? she listed on her lease agreement she had one small service dog, which was OK with me until I went to the house and realized she had two dogs, untrained, so I am sure none are service animals. I feel really uneasy about this and spoke with a PM that I just hired. he says there is not much I can do since I have a legally binding contract. he believes I should just ride it out, meaning collect rent and see what happens, if she doesn't pay we can evict. the lease agreement is for 2 years and I'm very concerned. I know I need to calm down but I am angry at my realtor because she didn't get CDL or SSN card or credit report, (the tenant provided the credit report), and I am angry at myself. should I just ride it out? Also she pays with money orders (from Ralphs grocery store) which is suspect to me. why would someone making 400k use money orders for rent. this is a SFR in a very nice neighborhood in S.California., I would like to move into the property myself and get her out. I don't want to bribe her with thousands of bucks if I can help it. My gut screamed no to this lady, but my realtor thought she was great based on her docs and references. please don't tell me I am a fool because I am sooooo already aware of that. I can't begin to tell you how stupid I feel especially when my gut was screaming no! thank you everyone for reading, any answers would be greatly appreciated.

just wanted to add this for landlords as something to watch for.

the reason that I had doubts about this tenant is because the income level and lifestyle didn't jive.  i know the guys reading this will scratch their heads, but there is truth in this.  here are reasons I was suspect of this tenant:

teenage kids all had bad, uncut, unshaven hair, and clothes looked like Walmart status - remember, this is S. Ca. - doesn't jive

she arrived to see the property in an Uber, a small compact car with her 3 big kids

she owns a 2012 Toyota, that's it

her furniture didn't look very nice, cheap, and hardly any, she has boxes of junk though.

she let me know she was going to do the landscape (pick weeds), - how many people making that much money are out there picking weeds, btw, weeds still there. I'm not talking gardening here, weed pulling. this is a high income community and it's hot.  Everyone in the area uses gardeners.  People making that kind of money are very very busy and let someone else handle the "small stuff".

there's more but I can't think of it right now.

again any ideas on how to get her out are appreciated.

Sounds like constructive fraud, but you probably need a legal pro to help you.

If it were me, I would double check the lease and the application and look for a clause that says something like "applicant / tenant affirms that the information provided is accurate and true".  If i had that clause in an application or lease, and I could prove the person was being dishonest, I would approach it that way.

As an aside, you may want to tread lightly on this one, and not go in guns-ablazing.  If the tenant is full of BS, they might also be the type of person who will fight you tooth and nail, only to trash your place and then disappear on you.  

Originally posted by @Blair Poelman :

Sounds like constructive fraud, but you probably need a legal pro to help you.

If it were me, I would double check the lease and the application and look for a clause that says something like "applicant / tenant affirms that the information provided is accurate and true".  If i had that clause in an application or lease, and I could prove the person was being dishonest, I would approach it that way.

As an aside, you may want to tread lightly on this one, and not go in guns-ablazing.  If the tenant is full of BS, they might also be the type of person who will fight you tooth and nail, only to trash your place and then disappear on you.  

Thank you Blair!!  My PM, who appears to be a level headed guy, is telling me the same thing, just hard to stay calm when you feel you got bamboozled. I have been extremely lucky in the past with tenants, so I guess it's my turn to get a knucklehead.  Again, thank you.

So..... your realtor got all this info and DIDNT VERIFY ANY OF IT before accepting the applicant to move in? And/or you didn't verify ANY of it, before they signed the lease and moved in?

You just took their word for it? HUGE MISTAKE........ ALWAYS verify info on an application.....newsflash....tenants lie.......

Best hope is that you can nullify the lease based on false info.....you may have a professional deadbeat on your hands....good luck....get a lawyer.....

Account Closed Does you lease have anything in it that states that the tenant is not allowed to have pets except for service animals or requires additional fees and permission from you?  If not, I would just be nice as you can to the tenant and make regular property inspections to make sure the tenant is not destroying the property.

Account Closed

My opinion may be different than others on here, but I don't think you have a problem yet. It is troubling that she used fraudulent references and such, however she is already in your house, so you will have to go through the same process to remove her regardless.

Is she still paying the rent? If so I would continue to run business as normal. It doesn't matter if she pays with money orders as long as the money is there. She has two dogs, and you knew there would be wear and tear, and you can deduct that from their security deposit. 

Until then collect every single penny that you can from her. If she is able to pay for the entire two years, you win. 

Now finally, I really don't like the judgemental stuff in your post with concern to the way your tenant dresses, the car she drives and the haircut her kids have. That is 100% irrelevant. I'm a very frugal person myself even with an income that is considered upper middle class. 

Originally posted by @Ned J. :

So..... your realtor got all this info and DIDNT VERIFY ANY OF IT before accepting the applicant to move in? And/or you didn't verify ANY of it, before they signed the lease and moved in?

You just took their word for it? HUGE MISTAKE........ ALWAYS verify info on an application.....newsflash....tenants lie.......

Best hope is that you can nullify the lease based on false info.....you may have a professional deadbeat on your hands....good luck....get a lawyer.....

Thank you Ned.  The realtor did call the references but I am sure the person listed was a friend. My girlfriend who owns a printing business let me know that paycheck stubs, etc. are easily forged.  I'll just hang on to her until she stops paying rent. Again, thank you so much for answering!

Originally posted by @John Britt :

@Anita C. Does you lease have anything in it that states that the tenant is not allowed to have pets except for service animals or requires additional fees and permission from you?  If not, I would just be nice as you can to the tenant and make regular property inspections to make sure the tenant is not destroying the property.

Originally posted by @John Britt :

@Anita C. Does you lease have anything in it that states that the tenant is not allowed to have pets except for service animals or requires additional fees and permission from you?  If not, I would just be nice as you can to the tenant and make regular property inspections to make sure the tenant is not destroying the property.

 Thank you John,  I will take your advice and make sure the PM will visit twice yearly. I didn't think of that and I appreciate it!

Originally posted by @Anthony Gayden :

@Anita C.

My opinion may be different than others on here, but I don't think you have a problem yet. It is troubling that she used fraudulent references and such, however she is already in your house, so you will have to go through the same process to remove her regardless.

Is she still paying the rent? If so I would continue to run business as normal. It doesn't matter if she pays with money orders as long as the money is there. She has two dogs, and you knew there would be wear and tear, and you can deduct that from their security deposit. 

Until then collect every single penny that you can from her. If she is able to pay for the entire two years, you win. 

Now finally, I really don't like the judgemental stuff in your post with concern to the way your tenant dresses, the car she drives and the haircut her kids have. That is 100% irrelevant. I'm a very frugal person myself even with an income that is considered upper middle class. 

That PM either knows this tenant personally or is incompetent. A credit report should have turned up the prevous addresses and thus allow you to verify false references and income / employment should have been verified. I suspect if you cant get out of the lease you need to do frequent inspections. I dont care if someone makes less but lying is an indication of possible more lying. Where is the income from? My thought is to look out for any illegal activity at your property. As far as indicators you mention on uber use,car ownership, and money orders these are all flags that should have lead to better due diligence on verifying her income. People can be frugal but often are not.
Originally posted by @Anthony Gayden :

@Anita C.

My opinion may be different than others on here, but I don't think you have a problem yet. It is troubling that she used fraudulent references and such, however she is already in your house, so you will have to go through the same process to remove her regardless.

Is she still paying the rent? If so I would continue to run business as normal. It doesn't matter if she pays with money orders as long as the money is there. She has two dogs, and you knew there would be wear and tear, and you can deduct that from their security deposit. 

Until then collect every single penny that you can from her. If she is able to pay for the entire two years, you win. 

Now finally, I really don't like the judgemental stuff in your post with concern to the way your tenant dresses, the car she drives and the haircut her kids have. That is 100% irrelevant. I'm a very frugal person myself even with an income that is considered upper middle class. 

Thank you Anthony, I am going to do  exactly what you state!  What I was saying about her was that it was odd, lots of other things I couldn't put in the body of the text  that sent off a huge red flag.   Again, thank you. 

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
That PM either knows this tenant personally or is incompetent. A credit report should have turned up the prevous addresses and thus allow you to verify false references and income / employment should have been verified. I suspect if you cant get out of the lease you need to do frequent inspections. I dont care if someone makes less but lying is an indication of possible more lying. Where is the income from? My thought is to look out for any illegal activity at your property. As far as indicators you mention on uber use,car ownership, and money orders these are all flags that should have lead to better due diligence on verifying her income. People can be frugal but often are not.

Thank you Colleen.  it was my realtor that found the tenant a month ago and I just hired a PM yesterday to deal with any problems from her that may come up. also the credit report was given to the realtor from the tenant. the realtor didn't see anything wrong with that. Today I know that that is a red flag;(.  I will definitely do more inspections, THANK YOU FOR THAT ADVICE!! as far as the lying, yep she claimed to have one small service dog on the lease but when I went over there there were two hyper dogs, one a lab, the other a lab mix, no way service dogs and no way small. then I started to dig deeper and found out the references were on her FB page - boy did I feel dumb, but then again I expect that my realtor knows these things since that is what I pay her for. Now I know to hire a PM since obviously someone pulled the wool over my and my realtor's eyes. I so appreciate your comment, again thank you!!

Throw the damn application in the garbage and fire the realtor. You will probably have to learn to rent your own properties. It may be possible to find a good property manager but they are mighty scarce.

ANY lie or falsehood or gap in an application and it goes straight in the garbage. You DO NOT want to chance letting a bad tenant in. They only get worse once they get the keys to your house.

Originally posted by @Maurice Grant :

Throw the damn application in the garbage and fire the realtor. You will probably have to learn to rent your own properties. It may be possible to find a good property manager but they are mighty scarce.

 Thank you Maurice. Too late, she's already in. I did hire a PM though and I am feeling better about it now.  People give a lot away about themselves when their speaking and when she did it appeared her income and lifestyle just didn't jive in a lot of ways and it sent a big ??? in my mind. I brought this up to my realtor but my realtor thought I was being judgmental and let me know she had good references and great income - whoops! Lesson learned -TRUST YOUR GUT!  Again that you for your reply.

Your realtor is either in on it or a complete moron.

Tons of info on BP about screening tenants....even if you hire a PM, you should be well versed in how to do it.

Your gut has nothing to do with it. When an applicant lies you automatically know they are not trustworthy. What do you think they will be like once they are in your apartment? This is a business and business should be done in a businesslike way. What do you suppose would happen if you lied on a job application or credit application? You wouldn't get it, that is what would happen.

We have all trusted tenants, and we have all paid. When that no longer sounds mean or cynical you are on your way to wisdom.

"I'll just hang on to her until she stops paying rent"

I'm really curious what you think will happen then.

There are other reasons for not trusting your gut besides it being wrong most of the time.

You MUST have objective standards for who you rent to with NO exceptions. Any attempt to use judgement, make exceptions, or use your brains in any way will lead to accusations of prejudice and racism. You may be called on to prove that your decision of who to rent to, was entirely mechanical and the same for everyone or you get in trouble.

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

Your realtor is an IDIOT .   

Guess which idiot got paid? Hint: the Real estate agent.

Guess which idiot is likely to not get paid? Hint: ... naw, no hints needed for this ;)

From the sound of things, you have a professional tenant. Faked documents and all, and knows how to play the came called a con or scam.

So, as posted by another earlier post, review your lease to see if it contains anything to the effect that falsified information on the application is grounds for termination of the lease. If you don't have something like that, be sure to include that in the future. And if you don't have something about falsified application information, then look through the lease with a fine toothed comb to identify lease violations so that you can find grounds to evict.

The longer you have this tenant, the more likely your property is going to be degraded from others in that neighborhood.

Lastly, I have posted this previously, but worth mentioning again. Rather than repeat myself, I'll post a link that will get you to the more verbose posts I wrote on this:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/215105-use-realtor-to-find-tenants?page=1#p1436569

Updated 2 months ago

Typo in first sentence of post; word "came" should be "game".

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