lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

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Latest post 11-29-2012 3:02 PM by M Read. 9 replies.
  • 11-28-2012 11:35 PM

    lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    I am planning to rent my condo to a single mom with a child. By a quick background check, I found that she had an eviction in 2009, even through she tried to hide it on the rental application. She did mention that she was unemployed from 2008 to early 2010 though on the form. I then asked her about the eviction and she admitted it and said it was due to her unemployment. She seems now have a job (she provided the copy of her recent pay stub) and her daughter has SSI. I would like to take some risk to rent my condo to her, however, I told her I would like a larger security deposit and a shorter lease (6 months). She agreed to all my terms and will sign the lease in the next few days. To protect myself ( so I won't be sued later for "discrimination" because of those special lease terms), do I need ask her to sign a special document to state that a larger amount of deposit and shorter lease  is due to her eviction history? For other renters, I only ask for a month rent as deposit, and sign a minimum one-year lease. Please advise. Thanks!

  • 11-28-2012 11:43 PM In reply to

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    smiliemom:
    I found that she had an eviction in 2009, even through she tried to hide it on the rental application.

    The bolded words in your statement should tell you that going through with this rental will be a REALLY REALLY bad idea.  

    smiliemom:
    single mom with a child.

    The nanosecond she has the most minor financial issue you will be the one stuck without the money and the excuses will start with "I have a child please don't do this to me" being right at the top.  My recommendation is that you not even go there.

    smiliemom:
    To protect myself

    The best protection you can give yourself is to find another tenant.  Otherwise I predict you are likely to be back here in a few months wanting to know the fastest way to get rid of the deadbeat tennant.  Prior eviction and lying on the rental application = disaster waiting to happen in my book.

    smiliemom:
    Please advise.

    Your gut is already telling you this is a bad idea or you wouldn't be ammending your terms for the deposit and lease term.  Walk away.  It will be less expensive and no headache if you do.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 11-28-2012 11:59 PM In reply to

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    Thank you, ClydesMom, for your advise!

  • 11-29-2012 9:47 AM In reply to

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    As long as the amount of your security deposit is within the limit provided by law (look it up) then there is no illegal discrimination involved and you don't need any other document except your lease.

    Here's the MI L/T statutes:

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(0vselk55uuaqcs55fwojp045))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Act-348-of-1972

    Beyond that, having been a landlord for 20 years, I would have to agree with CM that you run a big risk by accepting this tenant.

    On the other hand, if you want to take a chance on her, that's up to you.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 11-29-2012 10:23 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,303

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    So long as the security does not exceed law thats not a problem--look it up.

    But any tenant with an eviction history is likley to be a big big risk --and its darn hard to get bad tenants out .

    Now if some financially reliable person will co sign for the rent (not a co tenant ) that alters the odds .

    But I think you are taking on big risks and I think her prior efforts to hide the problem should be a big red flag as your future --now if she had a long steady decent job that would be a + but that is apparently not the case.



  • 11-29-2012 11:07 AM In reply to

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    "By a quick background check, I found that she had an eviction in 2009, even through she tried to hide it on the rental application."

    Her not being up front about it would be a very good reason to turn her down.

    There's nothing unlawfully discriminatory about the lease terms, and you're free to enter into a month-to-month lease.

    "... do I need ask her to sign a special document to state that a larger amount of deposit and shorter lease is due to her eviction history?"

    No.

    Unless you're perfectly capable of operating at length without any rental income whatsoever, I wouldn't do this -- even with the best of tenants.

  • 11-29-2012 11:15 AM In reply to

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    There's nothing illegal about a landlord discriminating against a potential tenant with an eviction history.  You could legally refuse to rent to her for that reason, and that would be discrimination.  Most discrimination is perfectly legal.

    What you cannot legally do is require a security deposit that is greater than the laws of your state allow (if such a law exists in your state).  For example, my state prohibits a landlord from requiring a security deposit that exceeds two months' rent.  You need to make sure you understand whether your state imposes such a limit and, if so, that you're not violating that law.

    All that said, if it makes you feel better or safer, you're certainly free to have an addendum to your lease that states that the size of the security deposit and length of the lease are because of the tenant's eviction history.

  • 11-29-2012 11:40 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,303

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    I read that MI caps the allowable security at 1 1/2 months --that is not enough to cover any serious risks!

    Many a slow pay or no pay rental situation does not hit the  rental reporting database system

    With one big red flag you need to do a far deeper search...both as to prior residency history and employment history and if you can get access to credit history --that too.

    And the current LL may be handing out a pack of lies in hopes she will move on?  So go back a step or two...

    You can put in a pile of fancy words but none of them may add up to useful if she gets in trouble paying rents --and judges may be a bit liberal /pro tenant if you have slightest wart in there.

     



  • 11-29-2012 1:28 PM In reply to

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    Thank you all, for providing advices regarding this tenant, and the state law information about the security deposit. I have just denied the tenant. What a relief!

  • 11-29-2012 3:02 PM In reply to

    • M Read
      Consumer
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-28-2009
    • AZ
    • Posts 362

    Re: lease terms for a tenant with eviction history

    You will be glad you did. Getting rid of tenants can be a very long and costly process. Better to wait and find reliable tenants, and do a deep background check. Just google "tenant from --ll" to get an idea of what you just avoided.

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