Possible tenant

5 Replies

My newest possible ternate is a family that has lived in the wife's parents house for 6yrs. She says her parents moved to a retirement village so she moved into her childhood home and paid her parents rent to help them have extra income.
1. How do I check her history of paying on time?
2. Her husband has been on his job for 5yrs, he's a general manager of Longhorn Steakhouse but, she has changed jobs 3 times in the last 2 yrs....
3. Her job is a property manager.... For some reason that intimidates me alittle. I'm new to renting and don't want to be the newbie on my own property!

Any red flags here?

Why are they now moving out of their parents house? Where did they live before that? What did they say their credit score looks like?

Essentially, there is likely no way you will ever get a real answer from mommy and daddy....for all you know they were living there for free.

On my very first rental (~10 years ago) I took a chance on a family that was living with their parents, had horrible credit and were self-employed. They stayed with us for about 7 years (were a PITA more often than not in terms of collecting rent) and ultimately left after my last 3 day eviction notice. They were screaming I AM A BAD RENTER from the beginning....they were a mistake - my mistake - and ultimately taught me the hard way what to do and not do going forward.

Good luck!

1) Personally, since there's not going to be any good tenant references, I would just do a credit check on her and her husband and use that to gauge how seriously they take their financial obligations.

2) I've seen a lot of families where the husband has a full-time job and the wife primarily takes care of the kids and works a part-time job. There's usually a lot of turnover in those part-time jobs so I wouldn't consider it a big red flag (if they do in fact have a similar situation).

*Note: I would also verify both of their incomes and do a background check on each of them. (Have them pay for the background checks and let them know up front that they will have to pay for them as part of the application fee.)

3) Don't be scared. You should have the qualifications that you require of any tenant written down and kept in your home/office so that you can back up your decision when you turn someone down. (This helps thwart discrimination claims!) Also, it's okay to be a new landlord. You don't have to hide that fact. Just learn to be accommodating but fair and enforce your rental contract when you need to.

So, if everything checks out, awesome. If not, she should understand that you have written standards that tenants have to meet for you to rent to them and that her and her husband did not meet them.

Thank you! She says they are moving now because her parents are filing bankruptcy and hey want to include the house. She says they don't want to look into trying to keep the house.
It is to small ( although) they have lived there for 6yrs.
Did I mention they have a Pitbull mix!! That's also something that worries me

There's a lot of good pitbulls :) But, the question is do you accept pets? If so, will your insurance company drop you or raise your rates because they have a pitbull mix? If so, you need to add on your tenant qualifications sheet that you do not accept pets that are x, y, or z breeds unless they are service pets (you can't discriminate against people having service pets). 

Hi Georgia - Most insurances I'm aware of will not cover a rental property if certain breeds of dogs will live there.  Pit bull is usually number 1 on the list of restricted animals.  If your insurance carrier has the same restriction and you allow the pitbull, you are risking coverage should you ever need it.  So be sure you know your carriers restrictions and if you decide to allow pets, write the restricted breeds into your written screening criteria.

For any tenant you should do a full screen (credit, background, rental history and references).  Do this on every prospective tenant.  Not only will it protect you (I have met many seemingly nice people with bad surprises in their credit history and background) but it establishes a system.  The credit report will also give you some basic address history verification and will paint a picture of how they handle their financial obligations.  If they don't pay their bills you can bet they won't pay you either.

A bad tenant can make being a landlord a nightmarish full time job often at a significant financial cost.  It is not worth it.  Better to have an empty unit while waiting for the right tenant than be shortsighted just to get someone in there.   I have found that having a solid credit score requirement will go a long way in having good tenants.

As far as being a new landlord, get a hold of your local landlord tenant rules and become familiar with them so you can conduct your business with confidence.  Join your local rental owners association as they will be a wealth of information for you.

Good luck!

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