Qualifying Tenants, is this ok?

2 Replies

Hi All,

Currently looking for new tenants as my current ones gave me the notice that they will be out at the end of July. I've been getting a steady steam off hits off of craigs list and zillow, and I just showed the unit to a prospect yesterday. I have some reservations, and would like to share and discuss with the veterans of this forum. :)

First thing is that the prospect showed up before the scheduled time. To me this was good because it means she's serious and she seemed very professional overall, but as we were walking through she gave me the 'I have to be honest speech'. Apparently her ex husband and her were evicted from a place like 5 years ago. According to her it was actually more on the ex and her eviction charge was 'dismissed'. So that definitely produced some red flags off the start. However the more I talked to her the more it seemed like maybe she was in a bad situation.

The current place her and her fiance have been at for the past 4 years has a good housing reference. According to the landlord they've never missed a payment and that's good news, right? I have a few more reservations though.

She said that she owns a cleaning business and her fiance works in construction and also sub contracts. On the application she wrote that she makes 3000$/month and then the finace makes 8000$/month. My gut doesn't believe this because she only provided one pay stub for both her and the fiance. How do I know these weren't one time deals?

So now we get to the question. :) I'm still considering this family, but obviously my gut is telling me no. I feel like if I could ask for tax returns of 2017 and maybe a recent bank statement to truly see their financials, I'd feel better, butttt is this legal to ask for?

I just want to make sure I'm not crossing any legal lines by asking for too much, but again part of me wants to believe maybe she just was in a bad situation now they are just getting on track. If they produce almost 11K a month, I'd think I'd be good. Especially with the good housing reference, right?

What do ya'll think? I would appreciate your feedback! Thanks!!

Follow your gut and say no. It's probably better both financially and psychologically to have the unit sit empty for a little longer while screening for an excellent tenant than to place a bad one in it.

As for legalities, I cannot really comment on what is legal in your area as I am not licensed there nor am I an attorney. I would suggest you read your local Landlord/Tenant act to further your knowledge on this subject and possibly consult an attorney for more specific questions.

I would do a comprehensive screening report (credit+criminal+eviction) for each of them to get a better idea of what kind of renters they will be! There is plenty of free landlord software out there that can provide you with a comprehensive report of your applicant. If you need any recommendations, feel free to PM! 

I have to agree with Bob that it's better to have the unit sit empty a little bit longer than to end up with someone you have to evict. I also would look at the landlord-tenant laws for your area in order to determine if it is legal or not to ask for that documentation. 

Best of luck!