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Sorry for I might have not been clear:

1. We chose the group of 4 single people with one being a female and they will be paying a full month deposit.
2. Even though the family of 8 offered $200 extra per month, we did not accept it.
3. There were 3 other families (5/5/6 people) wanted to rent as well but then we only can choose one...

If it's not too late, you should definitely make more than 1 person liable on the lease. That will dramatically improve your chances of collecting rent. It will literally multiply those chances by a factor of 4 (since there are 3 additional people).

ensignlee said:   If it's not too late, you should definitely make more than 1 person liable on the lease. That will dramatically improve your chances of collecting rent. It will literally multiply those chances by a factor of 4 (since there are 3 additional people).
I thought it would be convenient having to deal with only one person but you do make sense since in reality I can still just deal with the person in charge but at least double the chance if signing up 2 persons. I will ask for at least one additional person to the appointment tomorrow at a realtors office. Thanks for the advice!

OverRuled said:   ensignlee said:   If it's not too late, you should definitely make more than 1 person liable on the lease. That will dramatically improve your chances of collecting rent. It will literally multiply those chances by a factor of 4 (since there are 3 additional people).
I thought it would be convenient having to deal with only one person but you do make sense since in reality I can still just deal with the person in charge but at least double the chance if signing up 2 persons. I will ask for at least one additional person to the appointment tomorrow at a realtors office. Thanks for the advice!


You need to REQUIRE EACH person on the lease. As I said the other day:

civ2k1 said: Horrible idea. You want each tenant to be jointly and severally liable. WhiteGuy an JaxFL are right. That way each tenant is wholly responsible for the lease. If 3 of the 4 guys flake, you can go after each of them AND the "good" tenant. None are off the hook until you get ALL your money - you don't care which of them ponies up for the total amount due. It's better for you as LL to have MORE responsible parties, not less. Be sure to get an application and background/credit check on EACH tenant.

You need to get an application, background, credit, etc on EACH tenant, and include EACH of them on the lease. There's only an upside on this for you. The more responsible parties, the better.

civ2k1 said:   OverRuled said:   ensignlee said:   If it's not too late, you should definitely make more than 1 person liable on the lease. That will dramatically improve your chances of collecting rent. It will literally multiply those chances by a factor of 4 (since there are 3 additional people).
I thought it would be convenient having to deal with only one person but you do make sense since in reality I can still just deal with the person in charge but at least double the chance if signing up 2 persons. I will ask for at least one additional person to the appointment tomorrow at a realtors office. Thanks for the advice!


You need to REQUIRE EACH person on the lease. As I said the other day:

civ2k1 said: Horrible idea. You want each tenant to be jointly and severally liable. WhiteGuy an JaxFL are right. That way each tenant is wholly responsible for the lease. If 3 of the 4 guys flake, you can go after each of them AND the "good" tenant. None are off the hook until you get ALL your money - you don't care which of them ponies up for the total amount due. It's better for you as LL to have MORE responsible parties, not less. Be sure to get an application and background/credit check on EACH tenant.

You need to get an application, background, credit, etc on EACH tenant, and include EACH of them on the lease. There's only an upside on this for you. The more responsible parties, the better.
Third time is supposed to be the charm!

You need to get an application, background, credit, etc on EACH tenant, and include EACH of them on the lease. There's only an upside on this for you. The more responsible parties, the better.
But only accept ONE rent check, in the full amount!

Yes I do now realize that the more is the better but when calling to make an appointment with the leader, He did ask if I would like to have them all present and mentioned that only 2 will be available since the other 2 will be working at the time, I did say that only he needed to be there... However just moment ago I asked him to bring at least one more and at least this will be twice as safe as before for me. I did look at his reports of their employments and income levels with 2 of them actually working 2 jobs and just trusted his written words for it. It is hard to explain but after meeting 3 of them, I do believe that I can trust them.

Thanks to all and based on advices I learn from here, I am sure I will be better next time such as creating an application form for people to fill in... I am crossing my fingers and hoping that these tenants will stay a very long time.

rufflesinc said:   But only accept ONE rent check, in the full amount!
Yes, this was the first demand that I asked from the leader which tempted me to plan having only him on the lease in the beginning.

OverRuled said:   It is hard to explain but after meeting 3 of them, I do believe that I can trust them.

Famous last words.

Sorry to tell you, but I'd say odds are greater than 25% that you'll have a problem sometime within the next 12 months that would have been avoided if you had done thorough background/income/credit checks on all tenants, and had all of them on the lease.

Based on the decisions you've made about tenant selection, I'd be concerned that your lease also doesn't protect you sufficiently, and you're not familiar with your state/local landlord/tenant laws so that if and issue comes up you'll handle it correctly.

I suggest you hire a property manager or learn how to be a landlord.

Finally - it's not a matter of trusting them. It's a matter of properly verifying they can afford the rent, have a history of paying on time, and having the law on your side when you need to go after them for a lease violation. Plenty of "trustworthy" people have been laid off and can't afford rent or accidentally burn down their residence.

civ2k1 hit it on the head. If you're running low on time to do the research yourself, spend a couple hundred bucks on a RE attorney to review your lease.

BTW, it should also be said that you should be polite if a discrepancy comes up or they balk at a request. You don't want to lose a potential good tenant over a misunderstanding.

OverRuled said:   Yes I do now realize that the more is the better but when calling to make an appointment with the leader, He did ask if I would like to have them all present and mentioned that only 2 will be available since the other 2 will be working at the time, I did say that only he needed to be there... However just moment ago I asked him to bring at least one more and at least this will be twice as safe as before for me. I did look at his reports of their employments and income levels with 2 of them actually working 2 jobs and just trusted his written words for it. It is hard to explain but after meeting 3 of them, I do believe that I can trust them.

Thanks to all and based on advices I learn from here, I am sure I will be better next time such as creating an application form for people to fill in... I am crossing my fingers and hoping that these tenants will stay a very long time.
LOL! Good thing convo was over phone, so you couldn't see the leader tenant rolling his eyes. They all probably now know how unprofessional/ill-prepared you are which may not bode well for you. Not sure how many laws you may have broken, and neither do you. Perhaps one of the four is studying law.

If OP bumps into one of the other tenants, though may not know what they look like,
OP could say... Take me to your Leader.

rufflesinc said:   civ2k1 hit it on the head. If you're running low on time to do the research yourself, spend a couple hundred bucks on a RE attorney to review your lease. Though good advice, ultimately what good would it do, as going forward, the OP is likely ignorant of how to operate within the terms of the lease or more so state laws. Your talking about someone who based decision solely on what is likely 30 minutes of face to face interaction.

OP - if you finally realize that you should follow our advise (every tenant fills out an application, background/credit/income verification, and signs the lease) but simply don't want to go back on your word to only put one or two on the lease because it feels awkward, you should get over it. Protecting your investment should be your number one priority. Better to feel awkward now, than get screwed later.

Tell the tenants that upon advice of counsel* (FWF), you'll need everyone included on the lease (hence, background, etc).

*Counsel as in counseled you, but not your lawyer. BTW, IANAL.

JaxFL said:   Krazen1211 said:   OverRuled said:   
Among them, there is a group of 4 single guys interested. I think I should choose these guys because even if one moves out, they can easily find another roommate to fill in and therefore, they will tend to be a lasting type of tenant preventing me from having to look for new tenants later on while also in reality losing money when the house is empty. From what I heard, adults will likely putting less strain on the property...


How would you structure the lease in this situation? All 4 guys sign the lease, and 1 leaves, the other 3 are responsible for his share?
. Is there a different way? Joint and Several Liability.. All 4 need to fill out app and make application. Decision and Security Deposit amount to be determined based on all four.

Be interesting to know if 1k amount was from 4 roomies.



Well, the other way is what this guy is planning to do, with 1 main tenant and 3 'subtenants'. But that's such a bad idea that I really didn't think he was seriously considering it.

Tenants with good references. And a good credit report showing that they're responsible and can pay for any damage they cause.

References are useless. Problem tenants know they can just list down their friends as the former landlords. Credit check, criminal background check, and verifiable income sources are what you need to focus on.

vegetation said:   References are useless. Problem tenants know they can just list down their friends as the former landlords. Credit check, criminal background check, and verifiable income sources are what you need to focus on.

References can be good if done properly:

civ2k1 said:
The best way is a credit report (with court records search), income verification, and a *real* prior rental verification. By a real verification, I mean:

- be sure to compare the addresses on the credit report with the reported prior addresses (they could be providing a false prior address, or conveniently leaving out the landlord they stiffed last year)
- confirm ownership of the property / name on property records matches the name of the person doing the verification (make sure they aren't having their friend pretend to be their prior landlord)
- independent confirmation of landlord's contact information / google or other search for the landlord's phone number (tenant could be providing you the prior landlord's name, but friend's phone number)
- check with more than just the current landlord (current landlord might provide a positive reference just to make them your problem and not his anymore)

civ2k1 said:   vegetation said:   References are useless. Problem tenants know they can just list down their friends as the former landlords. Credit check, criminal background check, and verifiable income sources are what you need to focus on.

References can be good if done properly:

civ2k1 said:
The best way is a credit report (with court records search), income verification, and a *real* prior rental verification. By a real verification, I mean:

- be sure to compare the addresses on the credit report with the reported prior addresses (they could be providing a false prior address, or conveniently leaving out the landlord they stiffed last year)
- confirm ownership of the property / name on property records matches the name of the person doing the verification (make sure they aren't having their friend pretend to be their prior landlord)
- independent confirmation of landlord's contact information / google or other search for the landlord's phone number (tenant could be providing you the prior landlord's name, but friend's phone number)
- check with more than just the current landlord (current landlord might provide a positive reference just to make them your problem and not his anymore)


Those steps don't necessarily mean squat in this day and age. Most people list down cell phones which there is no way to legitimately backtrace the address - even a different area code doesn't mean anything anymore. Also, legitimate rental management firms may not even talk to you about anything in detail due to fear of disclosure. Frequent transients who get kicked out a lot also just use a PO Box for all their mailings, so their actual rental address never shows up in a credit report.

vegetation said:   civ2k1 said:   vegetation said:   References are useless. Problem tenants know they can just list down their friends as the former landlords. Credit check, criminal background check, and verifiable income sources are what you need to focus on.

References can be good if done properly:

civ2k1 said:
The best way is a credit report (with court records search), income verification, and a *real* prior rental verification. By a real verification, I mean:

- be sure to compare the addresses on the credit report with the reported prior addresses (they could be providing a false prior address, or conveniently leaving out the landlord they stiffed last year)
- confirm ownership of the property / name on property records matches the name of the person doing the verification (make sure they aren't having their friend pretend to be their prior landlord)
- independent confirmation of landlord's contact information / google or other search for the landlord's phone number (tenant could be providing you the prior landlord's name, but friend's phone number)
- check with more than just the current landlord (current landlord might provide a positive reference just to make them your problem and not his anymore)


Those steps don't necessarily mean squat in this day and age. Most people list down cell phones which there is no way to legitimately backtrace the address - even a different area code doesn't mean anything anymore. Also, legitimate rental management firms may not even talk to you about anything in detail due to fear of disclosure. Frequent transients who get kicked out a lot also just use a PO Box for all their mailings, so their actual rental address never shows up in a credit report.


I agree with you - you may not be able to reach the landlord in the way I described. However, IF you can confirm via the steps I've listed, then it's likely a valid verification. It's hard to fake the address on your credit report, matching the name and number to the verified property owner, etc.

Long story short, credit reports (along with civil and criminal court records) and income verification (if not faked), are the safest ways to accept a tenant. And the steps should be taken with every person living there.

Take a look at the inside of their car, if it looks trashed so will your unit.



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