Hi, extremely new to this and this is my first post here. I have a qualified prospective renter who is ready to sign the lease in the next couple of days. However he mentioned that another person will be moving in with him who is currently out of the state. My question is should I add the second person to the lease agreement and if yes, how can I do that if the second person is not available now to sign it at the moment?
First off, welcome to BP @Dan Kolov
Make sure you are screening the 2nd tenant just like you screened the 1st tenant. If they refuse to allow the 2nd tenant to go through a background check then I would move on and find another tenant.
If you approve the 2nd tenant, just send the lease to them and have them figure out how to get it signed and back to you in a timely manner. If they really want the apartment they will figure something out.
Yes, tell this person that you can not finalize the process nor sign any lease until you screen the second person. If you find this first person qualified, you can do a lease signing with *only* their name on it...but don't be surprised if he just moves his friend in later.
Be sure before the lease is actually signed that you are handed the amount of the full security deposit and FULL 1st month's rent. If he's moving in the middle of this month, you can prorate September rent, but a full month rent must be paid up front upon signing the lease.
And no personal checks! They can bounce. Certified check, money order only, or cash only. Provide a receipt right then and there. Good luck!
Thanks a lot for the fast responses. What could be the complications if I sign with the first one and allow him to let the other person move in without being on the lease?
If you don't screen the other guy, he could be anyone....trouble maker. Ultimately, it's up to you on what you want to do. If the two roomies get a in a fight, and the one not on the lease doesn't want to leave, you know they'll try to drag you into their problem.
Thanks a lot Nicole. I'd make sure I add the second person.
As others have said, you must screen that other tenant. You can send them a pdf of the lease agreement by email and they can mail it or Fed Ex it back to you on their dime. If either of the tenants balks at that, move on.
To protect your property and yourself, you have to know who your tenants are. Each tenant who signs is agreeing to the lease terms such as: they will pay rent on time, take care of the place, not engage in criminal activity, etc. You can't hold them to the terms of a lease they didn't sign. Sorry if this is overkill. You've likely gotten the message by now. This one just made my landlord "danger alert" go off. Best of luck to you!
Definitely screen both tenants, and only take certified funds for the security deposit and first month's rent at the time of move in. (What if a check bounces, and they've already moved in?)
As for the dangers of only having the one tenant sign - My main concern would be that the signer (Milhouse) leaves partway through the lease and leaves his roommate (Bart) to pick up the bill. What if Bart was only paying Milhouse $400 per month? Milhouse is gone, and now you have Bart on the hook for the entire rent amount of $1200, but no lease in place to enforce. Obviously you'll be heading to court, but it's not going to be a fun experience. ---
Bart has a history of trouble with the law, and this won't be his first eviction. He knows how to work the court system based on his past experience. He comes to court with everything he needs to prolong the eviction process. (You don't know about this ahead of time, because you didn't do a background/eviction check.)
Also, Bart works in construction. He likes to fix things around the house, and has all the tools to do so. He has the tools, but he's not exactly good with them. You end up with floors that are half coming up, and a ceiling fan that looks like it's part of a Final Destination movie. (You missed this, because you didn't have an application, and didn't call the landlords on his application)
Sure that's overkill, and probably won't happen. But it could, and you can wipe out the small % chance by having them fill out the screening docs/application.
It can all be done online - if you need signatures from someone in a different geographic location just use Dotloop. It's free, and you can add signatures and initials to any document that you scan in. (Don't have a scanner? Use the tinyscan app in the appstore - or several other cell scanners).