Advice On Possible New Tenant

11 Replies

My current tenant will be leaving at the end of the month and she has been nothing but great. She works a lot out of town so that limited the wear and tear on the property. I've had the property listed and have had a few inquires but nothing solid and last week my tenant contacted me stating that one of her coworkers wants to rent my unit as soon as she leaves. She said he's a really good guy and has worked with him for the last 2 years. He contacted me a little later about the property and told me his retired military who is going through a divorce but he and his wife are on good terms. Said that he works a lot out of town and wants to see if his 20 year old son who is a college student can stay at the property when he is out of town for work.

This is a one bedroom, one bath unit so do you guys see any issues with that? He and I are planning on meeting this afternoon sometime. Normally I'd meet him at the property but considering that it is still occupied and he's been there a few times so knows everything about it would it be a bad idea to have him meet me at my house or should we meet out somewhere else? I like the idea that my current tenant referred him to me and she actually knows him. I know that he really wants the property and is ready to give deposit plus first and last months rent to get in there as soon as she leaves.

What are some questions I should be asking him when we meet today? If he meets all my requirements should I still have him submit for a background and credit check and if his son is planning on staying there when he's gone should I have him submit the same? Should his son be on the lease as well?

@Guevara M. sounds like you have a good lead on a tenant, BUT, you should still screen this gentleman along with his adult son. Both of them should know that you do a credit check, back ground check and eviction check. They both should qualify at least on the back ground and eviction portion for sure. Don't lower your standards just because it feels easy. Never let your guard down when you are screening a tenant. This is the point of greatest risk for your investment. 

@Guevara M.

Agree with the other folks on this post. I’m a self-described cynic with a capital C but anybody who offers *up front* that their son is going to be in the property a good amount of time sounds like they are trying to tell you (without telling you) that their son is going to be the main tenant. May not be the case, but like other folks said, do your due diligence. Anyone staying in the unit for extended periods of time should be considered a tenant and must go through the same screening process.

Good luck!

Thanks for the advice. I met with him and he seemed like a really nice guy. He’s going through a divorce so is only looking to do a month to month lease till it’s over and plans to move back home where all his family lives. Told him I require at least a 1 year lease and he wasn’t able to commit to that.

Would any of you do a month to month knowing that he plans to move as soon as the divorce is finalized?

@Guevara M.

Depends on your landscape. Are you hurting for renters? If so, then sure, but put clear guard rails in your lease around notice to vacate, etc.

If you like the guy and want to rent to him but could probably get a renter easily on the open market, I would see about negotiating with this guy for a higher rent per month to make up for the uncertainty of mo2mo.

Most landlords want a 12 mo lease or longer- creates stability. If you can’t get stability, get more $$$.

Higher rate for M2M. Also a little clarity on why and how much the son would stay while he is not traveling. Closed dorms? Is the son already over 18? If not, pass because he would be an unsupervised minor. Could be fine but could be bad.

He stated that he would be gone for work more than he would actually be home and if it would be ok if he had his 20 year old son stayed there while he is away for work. It's just a one bedroom unit. I would have no problem with M2M if I knew that he was going to be there for at least 6 months or longer but he feels like the divorce will only take up to 4 months to be finalized in which he would be moving back to his home town.

I've had it listed online for a few weeks already and have had some interest in it with people wanting to view it but it's still currently occupied till tomorrow. I'm leaving out of state for a few days on Sunday so won't be able to really get in there and do any repairs that might be needed until I get back. So most likely it will not be ready to show for a couple of weeks. This guy has already been to the property a few times so knows what it looks like inside. I'm leaning more towards just waiting till I have it show ready and then going from there with hopefully finding a good tenant.

You've gotten really solid advice. I would just add to make sure your 6 month lease monthly rate is higher than your 12 month lease rate, and your M2M is higher still. When tenants get a shorter than "standard" lease term, they are paying a premium for the flexibility.