a couple applying for my rental only wants the wife to undergo background check

22 Replies

I am trying to rent my house for the first time and I hired a realtor to advertise and show my house and screen renters. A couple (with three children) would like to move in, but the wife stated that she would be the primary applicant and would not provide any information other than income for her husband (no background/criminal check or credit score). They said they would keep looking elsewhere if I required the background check. I am in a hurry to rent my house. How would you respond?

Tell them to move along. They are obviously hiding something and starting out hiding things isn't a great way to start any type relationship.

Sorry, no.  They are hiding something and will be a bigger problem than an empty unit further down the road.  He might have bad credit or he might have a criminal background or he might have an eviction.  Or maybe they just don't have the cash for the background checks on both of them. 

@Jimmy Hunt Welcome to Biggerpockets.

A lot of newer investors make the mistake it sounds like you are about to.  You are in a rush to fill a unit, and you make a decision you know is wrong just to fill a vacant unit.  Accepting these people under their conditions (which pretty much sound like demands) is sure to end badly.  Think about how you are starting your relationship with them.  You giving into their demands right off the bat. Not good.

Ask any investor and they will probably tell you that they never regret being a little more patient when filling a rental.

I think you know you shouldn't accept these people, but will your need for their move-in money lead you to rolling the dice?

Michael Noto, Real Estate Agent in CT (#RES.0799665)
860-384-7570

@Jimmy Hunt

Do not rent to them you'll regret it. I do background checks on everyone even during there tenancy if I notice a new person that's always at the property especially for my multi family. The husband obviously has some type of felony he doesn't want you to see. RUN...

Good Luck

Been down that road, my first time renting a unit I took a young ladies cash who I KNEW would be a trouble tenant but it had been vacant almost 3 months and I needed it rented. So I took her security deposit and let her move in.

she was late on rent EVERY.SINGLE.MONTH (and I had to take time to chase it) until she finally just broke the lease and bailed 7 months in. I kept her security deposit but it wasn't enough to cover the vacancy, and clean-up the unit required afterwards. 

Just be patient, it'll cost less in the long run. 

Do not rent to them. They obviously have something to hide and that's an issue. Every place has the right to run background checks on everyone that's living there, whether they're the primary applicant or not. You'll find another prospective tenant soon enough with less risk.

Don't rent to them.  Here's what will happen.  They will not pay you any rent and you will still be making payments.  They will also be destroying your house during this time.  You will then have to hire an attorney at $200 per hour to get them out.  $3000 later with the attorney and they will be out but your house is destroyed.  It is better to make the payment yourself than to have someone in the property not paying rent.

I like Jim Shepards post but with one caveat.

If your property is in a rougher area you might have someone watch the place or stay there until rented. In a rougher area the place could get completely stripped out if sitting vacant.

If it is a nicer area the chances of this are less but they still do happen.

On Alexander Felice

"Been down that road, my first time renting a unit I took a young ladies cash who I KNEW would be a trouble tenant but it had been vacant almost 3 months and I needed it rented. So I took her security deposit and let her move in."

The tenants often build up the cash to go in the new place from STIFFING the previous landlord. That Is how they get the money! lol 

I agree with others this a no go. If this is the only bite you are getting then rent is too high, unit needs work to update, area is bad, or the marketing efforts need to be better. Could be any or all of these items and more as to why tenants are not calling your phone wanting to see it.

The other day my 4 year old ran into the kitchen and said "Daddy can you give me a towel?".  I asked what she needed a towel for.  Her response was "Nothing, but don't come look."

Very little difference between her and the husband here. 

Shaun Reilly, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9517670)
1-800-774-0737

That's like asking a cop to not look in your trunk when you have a muddy shovel in the backseat.... I would thank them for being upfront about the husband's inability to pass a background check and move on. Unless you like pain and suffering... In which case... By all means rent to them!

Ryan Dossey, Real Estate Agent in IN (#RB15001099)

Keep in mind that her response is actually better than what most people do.  They will put the lease in her name and the guy will start showing up a week later.  Then she will swear he is just visiting every day.

With just a name I can quickly do a statewide court search of an individual for free.  See if your state has that and plug him in.  I do that sometimes even before I reply to an e-mail when first screening.   

As stated multiple times above, no way do I rent to people without checking them out.  ESPECIALLY if they ask about it or give me an ultimatum.  I would deny just based on her attitude.  Be patient.  A vacant unit is far better than one occupied by a late/non-paying, damaging, dirty, drama-producing turd @Jimmy Hunt

Originally posted by @Joel Owens :

On Alexander Felice

"Been down that road, my first time renting a unit I took a young ladies cash who I KNEW would be a trouble tenant but it had been vacant almost 3 months and I needed it rented. So I took her security deposit and let her move in."

The tenants often build up the cash to go in the new place from STIFFING the previous landlord. That Is how they get the money! lol 

I agree with others this a no go. If this is the only bite you are getting then rent is too high, unit needs work to update, area is bad, or the marketing efforts need to be better. Could be any or all of these items and more as to why tenants are not calling your phone wanting to see it.

Yeah I believe this is exactly what happened. She stiffs the landlord on the last month or 2, then has a lump of cash to get into the next place (which is stupid since it ultimately costs her more money to do this but w/e). 

Don't do it. I have been there many times, and I always had to learn the heard way. 

Wait for a good tenant. 

Jimmy,

Does being a felon make a person less likely to pay their rent on time?  I don't think so.

I'm not sure why you would care about renting to a felon unless you owned some kind of multifamily building and had a vested interest in keeping everyone neighborly.

I personally haven't rented to a felon, but my father has.  One was an average tenant that fulfilled his lease with no problems.  The other has been in the house for 5 years and always pays his rent on time.

In low-income neighborhoods, the most important things to verify are income (pay stubs, government benefits) and expenses (car payments, cell phone bills, mouths to feed).  Tailor your rental application to the people that are likely to rent your house and take the time to ask a lot of questions.

A good rental application and the right questions can better define the risks of renting to a low-income tenant than credit checks and background checks.

If a felon gets sent back to jail (and many do) it will probably make them less likely to pay the rent on time.

Pass. If this is your only applicant determine what the problem is and fix it ASAP to start getting qualified prospects.  As a landlord you will have periods with no income on a unit. Get used to it. You are far better off paying the rent on a vacancy than dealing with a real problem tenant. Take your time. Once you find a good one you may not turn that unit over for years.

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

You may need to find a better realtor that is good at getting rentals filled.  You can do it yourself by putting an ad on Craigslist and there site where landlords can run credit checks and background checks for a reasonable cost.  Why are you having such a hard time finding someone to rent your property?  Why does your rental has very few prospective tenant?  What is the problem?  You must address this issue. 

Originally posted by @Devin Scott :

Don't do it. I have been there many times, and I always had to learn the heard way. 

Wait for a good tenant. 

 I pray if my realtor were in that situation he would say NEXT!

Originally posted by @Devin Scott :

Don't do it. I have been there many times, and I always had to learn the heard way. 

Wait for a good tenant. 

 Or better yet.   Lower your price!   Realtors have this thing where they like to get highrent.   They willing to wait it out.  If no prospects show up in 10 days lower the price.

First question is Why?  I prefer someone who says if you do a background check on my husband you will find  this or that then someone who says I won't agree to it.   What if it turns out they have a serious issue like a sex offender or felony drug issue in the last year.  With that condition I would not even waste time showing the place to them. Next!

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