Couple dating applied for our unit and she has no job yet...

8 Replies

We recently purchased our first building and are turning one of our units. The applicants are a couple, not married yet, and he is moving into town about a month prior to her. He has filled out the application and completed our screening process. He's an ideal tenant with credit above 750, well above our income requirements, and has a clean background with no evictions/felonies/etc. His girlfriend however is staying back in MT until she finishes school and then will be coming to Seattle soon. He's disclosed to us that she doesn't have a job lined up yet, and therefore won't meet our 2.5 x rent income requirement.

What do we do? Require a higher security deposit, last month's rent, both? Input appreciated!

Hi Ryan, at the end of the day you want a tenant who is capable of paying the rent and will take care of the place. Based on the information provided it sounds like the boy friend meets all your requirements. Other than checking out that the girlfriend doesn’t have any red flags on her report, what is your real concern? If her having a job is a area of real concern for you, you could rent to the boy friend only and then add the girl friend to the lease later when she moves to the area and has secured a job.

If he qualifies on his own, the only real concern is running a background check on her before signing a lease with them both.  Despite her having no income, I would definitely put her on the lease so they are both jointly and severally liable for fulfilling the contract.  Since in most jurisdictions she will have full tenant rights upon occupying anyways, you want to have a contract with her as well.

Sounds like he has qualified on his own you don't need her to pay rent. Properly screen her as usual and then add her as another occupant but he's the financially responsible tenant.

I would sign the lease with him and put her as an occupant.  I had a bad experience having 2 people sign a lease around 6 years ago.  10 months in there was high drama - couple was fighting, police were called, he kicked her out, she wanted to kick him out, etc.  It would have been much easier to handle with a single name on the lease. Now I just have the more responsible person sign. 

I agree with Terrell that you shouldn't put them both on the lease. The apartment complex I worked at had a similar situation where two people were sharing a room (and were on the same lease), they broke up, they both wanted to move out, but both names were on the lease. It was a whole ordeal and, as Terrell said, it would have been a lot easier to handle if only one of them was on the lease. I would highly recommend just putting the boyfriend on the lease then adding the girlfriend as an occupant once she moves in.

Originally posted by @Dick Rosen :

Sounds like he has qualified on his own you don't need her to pay rent. Properly screen her as usual and then add her as another occupant but he's the financially responsible tenant.

 This is what we do. We also get this sometimes with BF/GF tenants when one of them wants to be sure to be the 'owner' of the unit if they end up having to break up. In those cases, one of them ends up being the actual tenant, with financial responsibility, and the other is an authorized occupant under the tenant. As long as the person whose name is on the lease meets the income requirements that's really all you need.