More kids then originally told

13 Replies

Hello everyone,

i consider myself a careful and seasoned landlord. Most recently I had a unit for rent and I screened  carefully, made them do my smart move application, checked paystubs, bank statements. My smart move application gave them a 758 score.  Went to visit there convience store that they own locally that's been around since 07. Everything checked out fine. Even called prior landlords who say they been fine on rent. Upon the first few visit I only saw 3 kids and confirmed with the wife it was only 3. After moving in I find out there are 6 kids. 4 are high school and above and 2 are around 10 yrs old. It is a 3 bd/2.5 bath 2300 sqft home so fairly large but I already feel lied to. They are paying 4k/month in LA so it's a decent amount. With the current rental climate and evictions, landlords have very little ammo to work with. Would you guys shrug it off and just hope they pay rent in future or would you guys bring it up and stir the pot? I feel like best to leave it be and just hope that's the worst of it and they are still quality tenants. I think they purposely lied because most landlords would be turned off by that big of a family. Any thoughts?

If they're paying all the utilities and you're happy with the rent amount I would let it go (mainly because it's California which is tenant-friendly). 

I know some cities/states have a formula on how many people can live in a unit (it's usually based on the number of bedrooms) but aside from using a maximum occupancy argument a legal battle in L.A. would be a headache, no doubt.

This is one of those times where not every battle is worth fighting.  Family status is a protected class and they are paying utilities so that's not extra money coming out of your pocket.   The only possible concern is if they are over 18 you may have wanted to run a criminal background check but this isn't a battle I would fight in a landlord friendly state and certainly not one I would fight in Ca.  Just be glad they are just their kids and each one doesn't have an esa pitbull or bringing in a bunch of adults.  You are right a lot of landlords do discriminate against large families and while that is more people than I would want to cram in a house its on them.  It sounds like outside of this everything else checked out so I would just hope for the best in the future.  The fact you were lied to though is something that concerns me though even as no one likes to be lied to especially at the beginning of the relationship.  These are tenants I would maybe check up on more often not based on the size of the family but the lie.  

When you say 4 are high school and above perhaps they have had college kids come home? 
I would ask are your older children living here now and are they over 18 ?  If they are over 18,  I would ask for the names to be listed.  More  so they know you know they lied and so you know who the adult occupants are. 

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

When you say 4 are high school and above perhaps they have had college kids come home? 
I would ask are your older children living here now and are they over 18 ?  If they are over 18,  I would ask for the names to be listed.  More  so they know you know they lied and so you know who the adult occupants are. 

 Ya during the lease singing I asked the wife to list all occupants over 18 and she only listed the 2 kids I met and not the others. They have long term renting history about 4 yrs in the last place but I'm sure they had a game plan coming in to not disclose any negatives points so they lied but I can see how rental game can create that mentality to them. The last place they lived in was $2200/mo and 1300 sqft so this is much more space. I even looked into their Facebook prior and saw the kids I met but didn't realize the rest were theres too. Not sure what else a landlord could of done to verify this.

Are you paying for ANY of the utilities such as water, sewer?  Do you have any additional expenses due to the occupancy such as sewer pumping more often?  

Did you identify the people in the lease.  In my lease I have the adults identified as the lessee and then list every person/animal as an occupant:  EG:  child Mary, 8 years old, child Sam, 2 years old, dog Peter lab, 4 years old.  So every living non-plant in the place is identified in the lease.

So, if I was paying for the water, I would say that your lease is for XX people and now there apparently are YY people, so my water bill will be higher.  So you will need to amend the lease to add 3 more children and the rent will increase by $100 to cover my additional expenses for these extra people.

Especially in CA you can not limit the kids, but to add them to the lease you can charge them for your extra costs--pumping the septic system more often, higher water or sewer bill, etc.

Originally posted by @Lynnette E. :

Are you paying for ANY of the utilities such as water, sewer?  Do you have any additional expenses due to the occupancy such as sewer pumping more often?  

Did you identify the people in the lease.  In my lease I have the adults identified as the lessee and then list every person/animal as an occupant:  EG:  child Mary, 8 years old, child Sam, 2 years old, dog Peter lab, 4 years old.  So every living non-plant in the place is identified in the lease.

So, if I was paying for the water, I would say that your lease is for XX people and now there apparently are YY people, so my water bill will be higher.  So you will need to amend the lease to add 3 more children and the rent will increase by $100 to cover my additional expenses for these extra people.

Especially in CA you can not limit the kids, but to add them to the lease you can charge them for your extra costs--pumping the septic system more often, higher water or sewer bill, etc.

 Luckily no utility whatsoever will be on my name. All water/trash/gas/power is to the tenants. Yes I know which ones are on the lease and which ones aren't. Perhaps I'll ask to add the 2 older ones on there too but I'm very anxious to get to June 5th when rent is due. I just wanna make sure they are not deadbeats pro renters.

I think one of the issues David might be worried about is the additional wear and tear on the rental unit from 6 children instead of 3.  And it's pretty obvious that your tenants "lied" (although they might contend they didn't actually lie, just didn't tell you the entire story) but then, many tenants lie or shade the truth.

I once had a tenant who told me she had "several" children.  When pushed she admitted seven.  In truth she actually had 10 (I learned this later).  And at first they would all be out of the house and at school each day.  Then she decided to do home schooling.  This turned out to be a disaster and it ended up the older ones taking care of the younger ones while mom decided to start her business as a (irony upon irony) home organizer.  I was quite happy she bought a home to move her hoard into even though she had no problem paying my rent (her ex-husband was a highly paid engineer at one of our plants and gladly paid a huge amount of child support and alimony to her each month just to get out that marriage).

At any rate, it would be a good idea to add all children (especially the older ones) to the lease since you are unsure if they are nearing the age where they might be considered adults.  Your tenants would then realize you do know the number of people residing in your unit.

Your main concern remains that they pay your rent on time as your lease describes.

Gail

If you do not identify everyone on the lease now those 17 year olds will become 18, and add their girl/boy friend to the household...and then their babies.  You cannot stop the minors from living there now, but can evict over the adult friends in the future if you set up the lease with everyone identified and stick with checking up on that each year

Originally posted by @Gail K. :

I think one of the issues David might be worried about is the additional wear and tear on the rental unit from 6 children instead of 3.  And it's pretty obvious that your tenants "lied" (although they might contend they didn't actually lie, just didn't tell you the entire story) but then, many tenants lie or shade the truth.

I once had a tenant who told me she had "several" children.  When pushed she admitted seven.  In truth she actually had 10 (I learned this later).  And at first they would all be out of the house and at school each day.  Then she decided to do home schooling.  This turned out to be a disaster and it ended up the older ones taking care of the younger ones while mom decided to start her business as a (irony upon irony) home organizer.  I was quite happy she bought a home to move her hoard into even though she had no problem paying my rent (her ex-husband was a highly paid engineer at one of our plants and gladly paid a huge amount of child support and alimony to her each month just to get out that marriage).

At any rate, it would be a good idea to add all children (especially the older ones) to the lease since you are unsure if they are nearing the age where they might be considered adults.  Your tenants would then realize you do know the number of people residing in your unit.

Your main concern remains that they pay your rent on time as your lease describes.

Gail

 I talked to friend realtor who is also an investor. She told me it might be at my best interest to not add the other kids on the lease and have that card in my back pocket as a reason for eviction if that were to ever come up. That might be a good idea if they become problem tenants in future and when evictions do ever go back to normal it might be an easier slam dunk knowing they lied and did not list everyone in their family onto the lease. What do you guys think about that? Honestly I just want good paying tenants. The 3 additional kids is more wear and tear and may be a bigger parking neighborhood crowding issue but as long as they pay and don't cause neighborhood drama or abuse my house I'll be okay with the additional 3 kids. I can sympathize a bit they probably struggled to find quality homes once they mentioned there will be 8 person family. My hope is 1 by 1 the older ones may move out.

@David Pai ,

Older kids I wouldn't worry about, they will likely just be playing video games or playing on their phones.   With older kids you also don't have to worry about as many accidents, so maybe they didn't put them as they expect them to be gone to college in a year or so, you never know.     You might have also thrown them out 100% with it saying 6 kids, so if they can pay the rent, and they have passed everything...  i wouldn't stress too much.


maybe plan to do a visit every month or so to check in and make sure it's being taken care of with this added knowledge of extra people?

@David Pai

I think you should ask her for an honest answer about who is living there. Are you sure everyone is living there? It seems like the older ones might not be residents, which is why she didn’t list them. Tell her that the lease is signed for x amount of people, and that added “roommates” over the age of 18 need to be added to the lease, and go through the same application process. in my lease, it states that if you visit for more than 8 nights a year, you are considered a resident and have to complete an application and be added to the lease. (I wouldn’t necessarily run a background check and call references.) the reason I do this, is if the original lessee moves out, I’m not stuck with a squatter.

Don’t do anything sneaky or try to hang something over her head for future leverage. Treat the whole family as you would like to be treated.

Most importantly, especially when dancing so close to the line of a fair housing violation. Write down what you always do in this situation. The answer should be the same no matter the family size, or situation.