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yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #1 
When advertising a unit, do you mention the minimum requirements to qualify?  ( 3 times rent, 2 good LL references, etc)?  I have not been doing so, but just did because all I get are bad applicants that come no where near qualifying. 

People are not reading my ad, which is only a couple short paragraphs.  Like the NO DOGS part.  Then after I drive 20 minutes out to the place and show them around, they mention they have a dog.  When they call to request a showing, I tell them the minimum requirements necessary to rent, and they are cool with that, and then I go out there, show them the place, and either hear a sob story about several foreclosures and horrible credit, or get an app that has no LL references, or run their credit and geez.  29 negative accounts, credit score of 500.  I'm not sure what to do, but I'm getting frustrated.  What am I doing wrong? 
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,714
Reply with quote  #2 
Are you charging an application fee?   That usually slows down the bad applicants.  They don't want to waste their money if they know they won't qualify.  (Put on the application that the application fee is non-refundable.)  Nothing extreme, just a minimal amount.  I started with only $10 per adult and it really cut down on the idiots who know they won't qualify.  I mention it when setting up an appointment.  Then give them an out.  "Before you set up an appointment to see the inside, would you like to drive through the neighborhood and see if you like the area?  The house is in the 400 block of 123 Street."  Those who know they won't qualify say yes and they will call me back after they look it over.  Those who do qualify say they want to set up an appointment.
yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #3 
Yeah, I charge a 25$ application fee per applicant (nonrefundable, unless they qualify, then that money goes toward their first mo's rent).

I wrote on my ad the following:

Qualified applicants must show:

- verifiable income that meets or exceeds 3.5 times the rent amount
- 2 positive landlord/housing references
- pass criminal background check
- have stable credit history (score at or above 600)

Can I do this?  I mean, it's not violating fair housing laws.  I just don't know what else to do, peeps are not listening and nodding with whatever I say and then it turns out they are lying and want to give me sob stories, they are a good person, their dog is so nice, etc etc.  GAH.  No time for that, just meet the criteria that I set forth and all is good.  I thought if I wrote it out in the ad it would save a lot of unqualified people from calling.  But who knows, doesn't seem like anyone even reads the ad.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,714
Reply with quote  #4 
I see nothing wrong with that criteria or putting it in an ad if you want.  You need to be firm about it when talking to them.  Tell them in no uncertain terms that you will not accept anyone with dogs, or who does not meet the criteria.  If you want, you could ask them point blank if they can meet that criteria before you show it to them.  If they then start talking about a dog, immediately escort them to the door and close it.  "Thank you for your interest but you do not qualify.  I do not accept dogs." 
yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks, OH.  I'm so scared of discriminating.  Well, the new ad has procured zero calls.  So we'll see what happens.  Usually I get several a day.  While it's nice to get calls and have interest in the property, what's the point if none of them qualify.  Saves me time.

I don't get people.  I shouldn't be this hard, should it?  Pretty straightforward.  I could understand people not knowing what their credit score is, but you'd think they'd at least have an idea if it was awful or not too bad or pretty good.  I'm tired of people lying to me and giving me sob stories and, today, freaking out on me and harrassing me.  I think we should advocate a national holiday - Landlord Day.  We deserve it.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,714
Reply with quote  #6 
The only item that could possibly be discriminatory/unlawful in a normal criteria would be the income.  And there are only a couple of places where it would apply.  In a few places, you cannot discriminate based on their source of rent payment (ie- Section 8 or other assistance programs).  In those couple of places, you are forced to accept S8 tenants because they have the ability to pay the rent.  The law there says you can't discriminate based on source of income.  So unless you are in one of those very few  places, the criteria is fine.


yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #7 

but sec 8 is a source of income - right?  So by saying total verifiable income of xxx, but I'm not specifying that the income has to come from a certain source (or can't come from a certain source) then that is not discriminatory?  Or is it?  Should I get rid of it?

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,714
Reply with quote  #8 
There are very few places that have this source of income restriction.  Very few!  In those areas, you simply cannot turn down s8 tenants because that is what is paying for their rent.  The rule isn't that you can't turn down s8 tenants per se, just that you can't turn them down because of where their income is coming from.  (In the same rule, you couldn't turn down a stripper because of where her money is coming from.)  But there is nothing wrong with saying it has to be verifiable income.  You have the right to verify that the actual amount of money is legitimate (the applicant actually receives it) and the amount of it.  Unless you have this one restriction in your area, your criteria is fine.
yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #9 
uh, I got rid of it on my ad because I'm so freaked about discrimination issues.  Left the others on the ad, though (LL references, etc).  We shall see how well this ad does with that info on it.  So far, not one call.

Semi-normal tenant, where are you?!?!

While we are on the subject of verifiable income, what is exactly 'verifiable'?  I kept getting faxes from psycho reject tenant that were just hand written notes from her, saying that she got cash each week from person x, or whatever.  Obviously, that is not verifiable.  Does verifiable have to be in the form of a pay stub, tax statement, court document, etc?  Even her 'court document' was hand written, in her hand writing, but had been stamped by a notary public.  ??  What is acceptable 'verification' and what is not? 


OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,714
Reply with quote  #10 
How to explain?  For me, a verifiable source of income is normally one that can be substantiated by a third party, is subject to tax, and is an indication of continued income.  A pay stub from a job is proof of the number of hours worked and the pay.  The payroll dept. or HR dept. acts as the third party (is not the employee or the supervisor).  If self employed, the tax returns of the last few years shows that the IRS has been notified and acts as the third party.  These show an indication of what was earned and what should be earned in the future.  Unreported tips or cash payments aren't verifiable because they are not reported to any third party, they are not subject to taxes, and they can stop at any time.  A handwritten slip showing someone giving you cash could be considered a gift, not income, and is not an indicator that it will continue.  And since these slips are written by her, and not an "employer", they cannot be considered verifiable.
yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks.  Do you require it be in writing?  Or what if they want to give you phone numbers to talk to people and confirm income?  That doesn't seem very solid, I could be talking to anyone. 
 I guess the same could be said about LL references, too, though.  I *might* be talking to their landlord, or their dad, or their friend.  Who knows.  If they lived in a big complex, it's more legit, but if not, then who knows if that person is indeed a landlord or just some random person doing the applicant a favor.
yikes

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Posts: 383
Reply with quote  #12 
Here's an example.  I just spoke to my husband about this and he thinks one thing, I think another.

You have applicant "Amy"  she just started up her own business 3 mos ago.  Given this info, she will not have tax return statements to verify her income.  In addition, she just started the business. So looking at bank statements over the last 3 mos is not going to tell you much, given unusual start up costs and probably slower business as you try and gain customers/clients/patients/whatever.   So do you tell this person straight up, 'It seems as though we'll have no means of verifying your income, which we need to do to accept you as a tenant.  We may need a co-signer/guarantor in this case'  or do you say, 'okay, go ahead and fill out the app, give me the app fee, and we'll look at your bank statements and go from there.'

Hubs says to do the latter, I say the former.  It seems to me that 3 months of bank statements will really not tell us much about her future ability to pay rents.  Plus, most businessess fail and 3 mos doesn't tell you that she's running a successful business that's been operating and generating income for some time.  Hubs says that I'm being too hard-nosed with people, and I think I'm just trying to cover my butt, but maybe he's right.  Maybe I'm expecting too much from people.  These are not magnificant mansions or anything.  People interested in these properties are not going to have high paying jobs or stellar credit reports, most likely.  I'm just not sure how to handle these situations.  ??
bryant

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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #13 
Have you tried to post your property with rentberry.com?  You can easily find a qualified tenants there, since the site does background checks and credit reports for tenants. 
12Jgoldt

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Posts: 30
Reply with quote  #14 

Conduct an interview with each applicant over phone. If the prospective tenant does not meet your qualifying standards over the phone, it can save you the time of physically having to show the property.

mikebuss

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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #15 

Hi all,

I've been a landlord for about 4 years now. This summer I will be a tenant in another province while keeping my property at home. I've been frustrated with aspects of both the renting and leasing process and would like to create a product to change that.

My co-founder and I are looking to create a website that improves on the existing home rental sites that are out there...we want to make something more usable and easy to navigate for both landlords and tenants.

We are currently gathering info from a google survey that we made. If you would take the time to fill it out it would be greatly appreciated. I would love to get your perspective on what you think would be a useful product for you.

The survey is very short (12 questions). Here is the link:

For Tenants - https://goo.gl/forms/VgpChqb82qLu301T2 

For Landlords - https://goo.gl/forms/gedrA6BllxJaHKxr2

Thanks so much!

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