Notice to quit/eviction

15 Replies

Just want to be sure I’m crystal clear on this and not violating any laws.... I just received an application where the tenant was given a notice to quit for non payment of rent. She also scribbled put her annual income to make it exactly 2.5 times the rental amount. I found the eviction in 2 minutes on the state judicial website, so I know I’m not renting to her. I haven’t done the credit check yet, but don’t feel it’s needed at this point. She did give the $25 money order for the credit check fee, which I guess I’ll keep? I always feel funny about keeping that money when I know I’m not going to run the credit/background check. Does anyone else give the fee back? Any other steps I should take before I say no to this tenant? Thank you BP followers!

Perhaps hang onto the $25 until you find a Tenant. Then return the $25 to the rejected applicant, telling her that you rented to someone else. As a gesture of goodwill, return the money.

@Amanda Paugas

Why would you keep her $25 for a background check that you didn’t perform? I use MySmartMove and have tenant pay directly. I never profit from a background check. Reject her and return her money. Simply tell her she doesn’t meet the criteria and move on.

Thank you! The only reason to keep the fee would be to fully complete the application process. I guess I’m under no obligation to do that if I determine that she’s not a candidate based on the recent eviction. I haven’t gotten the money yet anyway as it’s being held by her agent, so I will make sure she returns it. With all of the laws now, I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t violating anything! Thanks again for the input!

We give the credit check fee back if we don't actually "spend" it. Now, however, we use a third party screener and have the tenants pay that directly online so we never handle the money. We only submit them for the rental check if we believe they'll be a good possibility. We also do some online searching, etc. to see what we can find out ahead of time. If the applicants are honest and we "know" they wouldn't be approved, we just tell them. If they are deceptive or overly optimistic regarding their credit scores, etc. Then they wasted their own money, not ours.

@Amanda Paugas

If I take an application and fee from someone that I know I don’t want, as soon as I get home it goes in an envelope and mailed back to them. It’s the right thing to do. To most of these people $25 is a lot to just give away for no reason.

I would probably run the background and credit check anyway because you don't want to be accused of discrimination. How do you decide which applicants you are going to run it on? They know what is in their background and credit, you don't. That is why they agree to pay the application fee. 

Thanks everyone for your input. I have already given the money back and explained that the decision was based on the current eviction for non payment of rent. 

On the application for rental, we have a statement to the effect that ' on the application (giving false info) is cause for rejection'.  

So, if you find they were evicted after they said on the ap they were NOT evicted, make real sure there isn't another Davie Jones in the state that was evicted.  Most states do not provide dob on L/T proceedings.

@Amanda Paugas If you clearly outlined your minimum qualifications for renting your apartment and the person applied anyway I would process their complete application and then after you have all of the info issue them an official denial or approval decision. If someone applies knowing they don’t meet the minimum quals that isn’t your fault.

Now, if you did not clearly outline the minimum quals I would highly recommend doing that and remain consistent for every person that inquires. Especially in CT you can really jam yourself up if you pre screen people differently.

@John Teachout

Bingo, and ditto! My goal is to have every applicant that pays the fee to pass the background and to rent from us. If they’re telling the truth, they should pass the criteria. If not, hopefully they disqualify themselves prior to paying. I very much dislike landlords/PM’s that take 3, 4, 5 applicants background money and then tell all but one that they didn’t get the place.

@Jon A.

Well, no. There are open source websites that you can see for free, and easily disqualify them. If I run somebody in Iowa Courts online and see they’ve been evicted or have financial judgments against them, I don’t need to charge them for a background check to disqualify them.

“Your honor, their application says they have never been evicted, but Iowa Courts online shows that was a lie”. Hence, not discriminatory.

@Anthony Wick , I do not profit from background checks in any way. I have them apply through cozy. I am sorry you feel that way about the screening process and landlords that take multiple applications but I don't see how you can treat one applicant different from another. My concern is that is could be construed as discriminatory. "Your honor, he didn't even accept my application fee, so how does he know what is in my background and credit report?" Records online don't always coincide with each other. I do my best to pre screen over the phone before hand and during the showing. It is completely up to them if they want to apply. Also, some of the free search engines online are not to be used for consumer reports such as tenant screening. So the be fair, across the board, if they want to apply they are welcome to. I have had tenants apply before even speaking to me or even looking at the property. 

I have a document of our rental criteria that clearly lays out credit scores, criminal background criteria, and income criteria. I review this with each applicant before they apply. Usually the biggest issue for my applicants is hitting at or above my minimum credit score (600). I also direct them to self check credit scores,  and court records if they have doubts. 

I only take fees from the first applicant and give them 24 hrs to complete the whole process.  Others go on a wait list. 

So, by walking people through my rental criteria I've avoided a LOT of rejections.  In fact,  in 6 years I've only rejected 2 applicants. 

@Jon A.

You might be misunderstanding some of what I said. Unless you take 3-4 applicants at once, charge them all, and then tell all but one they haven’t been selected. If you do, you’re taking people’s money knowing that some of them will not be accepted. I don’t respect that.

And, Iowa Courts places their charges and convictions and dispositions online. Yes, you can reasonably reject people if you see a felony conviction. No, you don’t need to take their money, run a criminal history, and see the same information again.

And I NEVER accept an application and take their money from a person that I’ve never met and a person that has never seen the unit. That’s a red flag. And I’ll also tell you something else, my communication methods are good enough that I have never rejected an applicant that has paid for the background. Why? Because they know exactly what I’m looking for and they know if they will meet the criteria or not. Again, those people that don’t meet the criteria simply don’t spend the money to be rejected.