Screening Question

I has a SFH for rent, my current tenants keep the place nice but pay rent late each month. (Are current now.) I just received an application from a married couple with three kids + mother in law. Total income$77k rent is $1560. They have a bankruptcy due to medical bills and are moving due to their ARM going to $2600 and their current house going back to the bank. The full credit report is due back tomorrow so I can see debt load info. Based on the above would you still consider them? Employment goes back 2+ years and they were in their house since 2001 before their current troubles. I need to get the mother in law screened as well as this is new information but would likley add to the household income. I plan to do a drive by of their current home to see how the curb appeal is etc. Thanks


I do rent to people who have been through a foreclosure. Obviously, the rent needs to be significantly below their house payment so that they can make the payments. You just need to screen them like any other tenant and ensure that they meet your criteria.

Good Luck,


Thanks, the credit came back not too bad considering a bankruptcy in 2007 scores 623 593 and only debt besides the house going back to the bank is a single car loan all payments current. So far i’m pleasantly surprised. Hope the employment verification checks out the criminal came back clean too.

Are you talking about evicting the current tenant and moving in a new tenant? Tenants who pay late can be a good source of income. Make sure that your lease agreement states that “rents paid after the 3rd or 5th or whatever…will result in a (usually about 10% of monthly rent) charge. The stipulation is that the check must be delivered to your office or PO box by that date, and if you don’t have it, place a 3 day notice to pay or quit. I’ll bet your tenant will either wind up paying you 10% more for rent every month or they will stop paying late.
Don’t get rid of a tenant because you THINK another tenant would be better. You will be surprised. The tenants that you believe will be a pain will turn out to be great, and the tenants that you think will be great will bring you nothing but hassles. It’s really hard to predict.
That being said, you can screen tenants well and reduce the incidence of BIG problems.
The thing that bothers me is that the prospective tenant had “medical bills” and an “ARM going to $2600.” Are these two unfortunate circumstances or do they have bad judgment? I reserve the right to decline to rent to people who have a bankruptcy, and I look carefully at the application when I get a prospective tenant with a history of bankruptcy. Did they leave anything out on their application? Did they lie to you about anything? Have you verified their income?
It sounds like you are being careful, these are just some ideas…

Thanks, no the current tenant while current has been a pain, late rent every month new story blah blah but always pays up just before I file papers. I learned that the mom who was collecting rent for the entire household was just paying late leaving the others thinking they paid on time. Then utilities were not being paid and the gas almost got shut off. Oddly they keep the home very nice. Anyway they all now hate each other and want to go separate ways so I agreed to let them go if I could secure another renter. The husband of the couple is now unemployed so it seems like a good way to get them out on good terms with the place in good condition. I do have $1800 of their deposit so they are motivated to not leave me stuck and clean on the way out. Baring the employment verification failing I decided to rent to them. They are paying March rent and deposit now and moving during March as they see fit as they can still be in their home for awhile. That will give me time to fix this and that without tenants living there. I’ll just be firm in case they aren’t paying by the 1st. By their credit report I can see that while they may not be paying their mortgage their car payment is current so they seem to think a bit about priority in what to pay and their income is $75k so given the $1k drop in their housing payment it looks like a good setup.

Just for kicks, I looked up the law in Minnesota regarding late fees. It says that it must be a reasonable amount that can be justified and not be a seen as a penalty. I wonder how much that actually translate to in actual rent. In my state we’re not allowed to charge a late fee unless it’s more than 30 days late but there’s no limit. Now I write that into all my leases. Some people have felt it encourages people to be late, but then I just mention that you can begin eviction proceedings after the rent is one day late although the judge might not look too kindly on it.

Anyway couple of good screening questions would be if they pay by check or money order. If they have receipts for their last two rent payments. You can also ask how much they have in savings.