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Always seem to be taking a chance on someone?

May 8, 2011

As a landlord it seems I am always taking a chance on someone when filling my vacancies.  I just don’t see that many perfect tenants:  Husband and wife that actually have the same last names, 2 great jobs, 2 well behaved kids, etc.  I am always seeing single moms with 4 kids, unmarried couples, one working and one unemployed, or some other unique story.  I have come to learn that this is rent house tenants.  That perfect couple with great jobs are buying homes, not renting.  You end up having to take a chance on someone sooner or later.

This has caused me to really check out my prospects during the screening process.  On occasion, I just have a gut feel about a candidate being a good tenant.  My tenants in Property 4 are a great example of this.  This is my larger 4-2-2 property.  I had a family that was very interested in the property.  The problem was they just immigrated here from Iran.  It was a family of 5.  Only one of them had a job and it paid hourly.  They did however provide passports, work permits, visas, and one drivers license between them.

They also had a brother (acted as their sponsor) that was well established here in the US and lived around the corner from me.  He also had a good job at a very well known tech company in the area.    I had them fill out an application and told them I wanted to check out a few things and sleep on it.  They said ok, to call if I had any questions.

I verified the brothers employment and the one job that was there. I was not able to pull credit or check with previous landlords as they were immigrants. I could not find any holes in any story they told me.  I asked them for a few more items and one of them was a current bank statement.  They happily provided it.  They had over $6k cash in a checking account.  I had no other candidates that seemed really interested, so I came up with an approach that would either scare them off or get me comfortable with renting to them.  With all of their cash, I told them I wanted the deposit, first months rent, and second months rent up front.  Then each month I wanted them to continue to pay the rent so that I was always a month ahead in rent.  They agreed. I typed it up and they signed.

They have been model tenants.  The oldest daughter is the only one in the family that speaks enough English to communicate with, but they are very respectful.  They are low maintenance, take care of the place, and pay on time.  I was really torn when reviewing their application, but everything they told me checked out. Taking a chance here paid off, but it doesn’t always.

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From → Landlord

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