Good Tenant Wants Boyfriend to Move in But...

13 Replies

Hello BP!

I'm new to landlording and looking for some advice.  I have a good tenant that wants her boyfriend to move in.  

The good:

His credit report shows zero missed payments

His girlfriend's father is our handyman and one of his previous landlords

He has been at his job since 2006

The bad:

He already asked to use some of the storage space to store gear for his hobbies

He just took out a loan for 105k for a boat (also 10k owed on car, makes 50k/yr)

He asked to store the boat on the property

So far I have said ok to storing the gear, but need to establish some ground rules (looking for advice here too).  Also, advised that we do not know our plans for the space and he may have to move his stuff out at some point in the future.  I told him no to the boat.

Please let me know what you would do in this situation.  Any advice is helpful (whether or not he cam move in, terms, ect).

Thank you in advance!

Here's what I would do.  Gem up another lease for the storage building.  Set the rent and put in the lease that you will give a 30 day notice for vacating his things.  I would make the rent higher than a storage unit so that he is discouraged from storing his stuff there, and you can do what you want with that space whenever you feel like doing it.  Good job on telling him no on the boat.  Add that to your lease along with campers, 18 wheelers, ATVs, and whatever else you don't want on your property. 

This is the line that concerns (and frankly confuses) me.  "His girlfriend's father is our handyman and one of his previous landlords"

When you say 'his girlfriends' I think you are referring to your current tenant.  So, your current wants to move in her boyfriend and the current tenants dad is your handyman.  

I am never a fan of renting to the family of a handyman because if something goes wrong you will lose a tenant or a handyman or in some cases both.  Also, just awkward all around.  Or if you need to evict or stop working with the handyman etc....

But if I understand it, the handyman is the dad of the girlfriend so you are already in and just moving in the boyfriend.  And the handyman is a former landlord to the boyfriend. Well, you should be able to get a solid reference that way, good or bad hopefully he lays it out for you.

Question, would you have allowed any tenant to store the boat?  Or is this because of the relationship?  

This guy is a cough away from being in financial trouble.  If the current tenant can support the place on her own and has been doing just fine then I would care less.  I would do as @Dena Puliatti suggested and handle the storage / fees for that separately.  

I see red flags but would want more info to give a yes or a no.  Proceed with caution : ) 

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Originally posted by @Dena Puliatti :

Here's what I would do.  Gem up another lease for the storage building.  Set the rent and put in the lease that you will give a 30 day notice for vacating his things.  I would make the rent higher than a storage unit so that he is discouraged from storing his stuff there, and you can do what you want with that space whenever you feel like doing it.  Good job on telling him no on the boat.  Add that to your lease along with campers, 18 wheelers, ATVs, and whatever else you don't want on your property. 

I didn’t want to create a novel in my original post, but I should have mentioned that the other tenants are using the storage under the same conditions.  I want to be careful and treat everyone the same, but I do get a sense that this could get out of hand.


Thank you about the boat, and that will definitely be added to my leases.

If I have someone who want to move someone into a unit and the expectancy is that they will live there together and share the rent and lease, I would want to re-lease them so you have them both on the lease now. I agree with the no to the boat and while I am usually fine with tenants finding significant others and moving them in (as long as the occupancy numbers are safe), this one sounds like a gambling debt coming in hot after a night in Vegas.

Thank you for the replies.  Scott, you are correct in terms of the relationships.  

I do plan to speak with the father/handyman/previous landlord.  This will weigh in heavily on my decision, as he is somewhat invested (Involves work and his daughter).  

The boat would be a no for any tenant.  

Chances are that I will allow him to move in, but I'm not sure of the best approach.  What are your thoughts on letting him move in, but not putting him on the lease?  Putting him on the lease, but having the current tenant be a co-signer (would this allow me to collect full rent even if he finds himself unable to pay?)

@Michael Fucillo if you do let him move in, he must be added to the lease. Period.

As others have mentioned address the storage separately in the lease for an additional fee, and no to the boat, RV’s, etc.

Best of luck!

Now maybe without the fun boat and the flashy car she would not be his g/f.

Seems like the might be "Forever Renters" and that can be gem--if you take good care of them.

Well his credit and spending habits allowed him to borrow foe a $105K boat and a car . Sounds like a responsible guy . ( why he didnt buy a house is beyond me ) . Now if there is room on the property or in the driveway , I would have no problem with a boat , an rv , a street rod , or any other toy . 

I have a tenant with a boat and a race car in a trailer , another tenant that brings home his Kenworth tractor ( no trailer ) to wash and wax it and do some repairs . These tenants work hard and play hard and as long as they keep the place up and pay rent I am good with it . Happy tenants anr generally good tenants .

@Matthew Paul , love this perspective.  I felt like I was being unfair, but was having trouble reframing the situation.  In this same scenario, if the boat was a home, I would be looking at it totally differently.  I know there are a lot of differences between buying a boat and a home, but ultimately that is none of my business.  What is my business, is if he can afford to pay rent.  

What do you guys require for a debt to income ratio?  In this example current debt plus 1/2 rent would be 39.6%

As far as the boat goes, maybe down the road we can let the boat in for a fee.  We just acquired the property and I want to understand the other tenants better before I start making a change like this.  Also, the property is in VT and this may cause an issue with plowing.

@Dave E. Can you elaborate on , "if you do let him move in, he must be added to the lease. Period."  I apologize if the answer should be obvious, but this is my first experience being a landlord. 

Hi @Michael Fucillo ,

I have learned that anytime you rent to a female a male will soon of not instantly follow. With his debt I would make it clear upfront that if things go sour he will be the one leaving. I would never put the unit in his name only list him as an occupant. It seems like part of the business to have the plus one.

@Michael Fucillo if he moves in and is not added to the lease, it makes it very difficult to evict or handle problems because there is no written agreement. Add any new tenant to the lease 100% so that there is a legal document if/when issues arise.

Thank you all of you responses!  I thought it may be helpful to anyone else reading to follow up with where I landed.  

If you are a pro member, their is a bigger pockets form for adding someone to an existing lease.  I found this form to be perfect for addressing all of the issues mentioned above.  The lesson I learned on this one, was to give the form to the current and potential tenant and provide a deadline.  We are now past the move in date and I don't have the form back (no one has moved in yet).  Hope this helps someone!

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I'm with Scott on this one. I think your biggest threat is the relationship between the Tenant and the handyman, but that ship has already sailed. Keep an eye on it.

The boyfriend sounds qualified. As long as he's applied and passed your screening, you should allow him in. Make sure he signs the lease and accepts full responsibility. FYI: I charge a fee any time I have to spend time making changes to an existing contract (add/remove a tenant or pet, early termination, etc.). Make sure you're being compensated for your time.

As for storing gear and a boat, make sure the agreement is in writing. Keep it tidy, spell out termination, how you'll handle violations, etc. Monetize it.