How can I perform a background check on a senior

20 Replies

Help please:

How can I do a background check on a senior who want to rent my 1 bedroom apartment in Mercer County NJ? He's 90 and doesn't have an email address so I can't process the usual background check via Transition? 

Any ideas? 

Much appreciated.

If I was doing it, I revert to the old fashion way before all the online services came along. I have a paper application where the tenant completes, I would then enter the info into the credit checking service that I use. Having said that, I was approved by my credit service some time back that I can go in directly to obtain client info. The other way is for the tenant to request the info and have the results sent to you.

Another way is to have him or help him find a social service like a Senior Center that could possibly help him get an email address and go forward. I doubt whether he even owns a computer, ever went on line or have any need for email services. I worked at a Senior Center once and helped clients with these issues.

We handle matters for my mother in law and she doesn't have an email address either. So did my parents who passed a few years ago. I remember I had a computer I no longer use and I gave it to my dad. He asked me what he can use it for, so I set him up so he can make on line payments with the phone company as a start, and I did one for him. A few months later, his phone service was cut off, the phone company said he didn't pay his phone bill. He insisted he did it on line and have no idea what went wrong. After that was straightened out, he didn't bother with computers anymore. Said he did OK with paper bills all these years, mailing payments in by the postal service, so he'll stick with it.

Hi Sheltocks! I have to agree with Frank, do a paper application then manually enter the information into a tenant screening software. If you need any software recommendations, feel free to PM! 

Doing my best not to sound morbid or crass, I don't think I'd bother with a guy that was 90. I suspect foul play and sexual deviancy will be the least of your concerns from someone that age. 

Originally posted by @JD Martin :

Doing my best not to sound morbid or crass, I don't think I'd bother with a guy that was 90. I suspect foul play and sexual deviancy will be the least of your concerns from someone that age. 

 I agree. Gives early termination of lease a different meaning. 

 Not being able to complete your standard procedure for screening is by itself a screening tool to deny them. 


I'm back again. The 90 year old tenant moved in. He paid rent for July and August. He deposited the rent check for September and he had previously placed a stop payment on that check number. I reached put and explained to him, he still needs to pay rent for September. (Since he stopped the check, I was charged by my bank and still never got the rent). He gave me $600 and said he's not paying me any more  money. He called the city to say he has no hot water and no smoke alarms. This is not true. 

I'm planning to file papers to evict him. Any thoughts??

@Sheltocks M. Amazing, just when you think you have heard it all-guess what? No good deed goes unpunished.

Sorry to hear this awful turn of events; but thank you for coming back to up date the thread. We are all here to learn and support each other.


I'm back again. Same tenant. His lease is ending June 2019. I don't want to renew it because of all the issues I've had with him. (Had to take him to court to get the rent. He wouldn't pay the rent because he says I'm too young to own property. He is also creating hostile environment for the tenant upstairs). 

Based on NJ law can I choose not to renew the lease or am I obligated to renew his lease? If I am obligated to renew, what's the maximum I can charge him. His current rent is $800 per month. Can I jump to $900 per month or is that considered too big of a jump. 

Honestly I need to get him out. What is a legal way for me not to renew his lease?

All responses are appreciated.

Hi there:

Thanks so much for reaching back out to me. Things have gotten much worse but I'm hopeful. This is one for the history books: He has locked himself out and broken down the door/ created a hostile living environment for the other tenant/ had the police officers at his apartment 4 times in 1 week/ has a restraining order against a ''lady he picked up off the street" who now lives with him. He has complained to the city multiple times about "conditions" at the apartment. The housing inspector told me yesterday that if he files one more complaint he will issue him a summons since none of his complaints have been found to be true. 

I have a lawyer and I have filed to have him evicted. I will update once the madness has stopped. Thanks again. It is much appreciated. 

Hey BP tribe: HE GOT EVICTED!!! He got evicted. He finally got evicted. Finally!!!. I'm so happy, I could scream. The old man finally got evicted. 

I went to court. The sheriff came and put him out. Adult protective services just called asking if he could collect his things. I said of course. 

To everyone who provided input on this tenant from hell. Thank you.

To everyone who gave me advice. Thank you. 

To everyone who listened to my story. Thank you.

The lesson from this is to always do a background check regardless of their age. This is a business and don't make exceptions for anyone. I made an exception because of he's 94 not knowing he's been doing the same thing (moving in...paying the first month's rent and then not paying until he gets evicted) for the last 30 years. That's what the social worker just said. I filed in small claims court to recoup my rent and the hardwood floors he damaged.

Maybe I'll write a blog about "The tenant from hell" to warn other landlords.

Thanks everyone. Eternally grateful to all.

@Sheltocks M. I would suggest having your applicant fill out and sign a rental application where they are consenting to have their background checked and providing you with their personal information.  There are screening services that only ask for your applicant's personal information so they can perform the searches for you without their involvement in the process.  I would recommend checking out the landlord resources tab on BP to see what screening services are available to you.