What's your opinion of NTN DecisionPoint as a screening tool??

I’ve got a candidate with a 79 score, 27 months at present residence (never late), 72 months at present employer, 28% rent-to-income ration, and a Class C Assault No Contest plea with 9 months probation in June of 2003. Nothing else negative…

  1. Is NTN DescisionPoint worthwhile as a screening tool?

  2. According to the NTN report, a score of 79 is in the “Acceptable with Reservations” category. The next higher category is “Acceptable” which starts at 80. The candidate is clearly borderline, and the NTN report recommends renting with additional deposit.

What would you guys/gals recommend?

Wonder what the details of that assualt charge are? Obviously you don’t want a violent person living there…

In January 2003 he was arressted for a Class A Misdemeanor Family Violence, reduced to Class C, he plead “No Contest” a few months later, got 9 months probation…

He got married in late 1999 divorced in early 2001…

Also, there’s a judgement for $1700 against him in favor of a furniture company dated October of 2002, I don’t see a satisfaction…

He seems to have kept his nose clean since then…

I did a few rentals based on that. One guy had accounts placed for collections a few years back, some other issues, and he assured me he’s over those issues.

Then two to three years after he moved in, his girlfriend died in the hospital due a mishap by the hospital, and he was so grief stricken he went on drugs, didn’t go to work for months. He headed a company his dad founded, but hs dad had to fire him and come back from retirement to work!! Spoke to his dad who was not happy at all.

So much for my assumption of a “safe job” (his dad is the owner) and his troubles was in the past.

Rented to another guy, bankrputcy from five years back. Claimed his former wife charged up stuff under his name. I figured he was over that too.

Finally, he bought a house, but skipped out on the last three montths rent. He plain told me he was several thousand dollars short on the down payment, and the rent money went towards the downpayment.

Nowadays, I wonder if troubles in the past are JUST BAD HABITS, that’ll resurface if the right circumstances present themselves. Like they say about pedophiles, they can’t be cured, I see the same for deadbeats, they can’t be cured. If it takes NOT PAYING THE RENT to solved their problem, they’ll just NOT PAY the rent.

Thanks Frank,

According to the report he’s been 27 months in a Lincoln Property Company owned apartment here in Dallas. They have pretty solid rent payment policies in place, so it looks like he has been paying…

No evictions; he’s spent his entire life in Dallas County, TX and public records are pretty good here, so I feel like I know most of what there is to know about him.

I was hoping someone would have experience with the DecisionPoint system and how useful their scores are. In the good old days I could do some online research, pull a credit report, and make up my mind. This is the first time I’ve dealt with NTN, and the 79 out of 100 score frankly means nothing to me…

Unfortunately, I use anither service called ATS, and as of a year ago, I still get the regular credit reports, so I’m OK.

And 25 years ago, before screenig services sprung up, I get my reports from "privates eyes, or “private investigators” as they are listed in the phonebook… I was charged $45.00/report, though it was more than that in the beginning, so I can always go that route if I get into problems.

Whatever the cost, six months going thru an eviction can easily cost 100 times that. The guy I used just pulled a report, and faxed it to me.

You can still get reports from “Private eyes”, if you tell them you need this or that tenant investigated.

In fact, tenant screening is a very narrowly focused need. Some attorney posted on a board doing an investigation of a buyer cannot get a report thru a screening service, because a business buyer does not meet the narrow criteria of a tenant screening service, i.e. someone renting, so he contacted a “private eye” as I suggested, where the business purpose is wider, and was able to get a report that way.

RE agents, property managers might still be able to get the real reports. You’re right, I’m used to getting the reports, and interpreting them.

If your tenant disputes your report, they can always order their own, as is their right, and you can compare to see if you got the right guy.

How fast do you get them out of the property if rent wasn’t paid from the day it was due?

In NYC, if you do everything by the book, the tenant can and will drag it out six months, or more.

For instance, got this guy who didn’t pay the rent on Jan 1. My attorney sent a notice giving him ten days to quit. When he still didn’t pay, didn’t move, a court date was set for Feb 15. He showed up, and the judge gave him 30 days, to Mar 15.

I was slow, didn’t come by for another week, around Mar 25, and was shocked he was still there. Called my attorney, and was told I need the marshalls (not the regular police) to throw him out since I can’t lock him out, (you change the locks when someone goes out) as he was too drugged up, and sick to leave the house, I can’t physically take him out.

My attorney checked with the marshalls and was told that they’re backed up 45 days!! That’s sometime in the middle of May!! What a mess.

My attorney said this went faster than normal because there’s normally an automatic 30 day postpone the first time the tenant doesn’t show up, another 30 days with a doctors note, and sometimes a 3rd one with a good excuse. The tenant didn’t use any of these postponements.

I understand the process works faster in other states.

That is absurd Frank! What did the tenant tell you basically? Any creative reasons or just the “can’t pay” thing?

On a side note, how are property prices faring currently? I used to live in NY and spoke with a family member there recently and he said it’s still increasing. He told me that prices in Queens (Flushing, my hometown) were almost catching up to prices in Long Island. That’s funny because it’s all apt. buildings and multi-units in Flushing and not upscale as say, Great Neck and such.

This was the guy I mentioned in one of my other post who had some collection items, and said “he’s over the issues”, so I rented the place to him.

The reason HE can’t pay the rent was he went back on drugs. For the nine months prior to that, his mom and dad, who retired to Naples FL paid his rent, and I get a rent check mailed to me from there.

I paid him a visit every other month, and he was home in his room, never went out, never bathed or showered, never cut his fingernails. It was an inch long, at least. Hair a foot long, eyes bugged out. He really gave me the creeps.

His parents paid his rent, paid his salary, for nearly a year, as he was the “President” of the family business that his father founded. On the Jan 1 that year, his mom called me from FL to wish me a “Happy New Year”, but told me there won’t be another rent check in the mail. I then learned his dad fired him as well. Spoke briefly to his dad and in his words: “I fired that lazy dope addict bum, and it’s time for you to get rid of him too”.

That’s why I immediately had an attorney file the papers. Based on what my attorney told me, he appeared to have cleaned himself up for his court appearance on Feb 15. My attorney told me based on his expereince as a “legal aid” attorney working for tenants fighting evcition, he was surprised that my tenant didn’t come forth to ask for a 30 day postponement, which is automatic, and often used just to stretch things by 30 days.

When I showed up on around Mar 25, he claimed he was too sick to pack himself up to leave. What do you do??

Attorney tells me the only folks allowed to toss his stuff out are the “marshalls”, and it’s only to the sidewalk. Checked wiht the town and was told “that I better clear the stuff off the sidewalk else I GET CITED for littering”. I decided to call the town before the neighbors, since they’ll call town hall yelling and screaming if they get up one morning, and find a lawn and sidewalk littered. In other words, I have to get movers there the SAME DAY, as the marshalls, and they can’t get me a date for the marshalls as they’re all backed up.

And after all of this, my attorney’s advice?? “Work something out with him, BEGGGGG him, anything, to make him leave”. So he tells me that he’ll need two months, his friend would help him pack up. And I can’t COLLECT ANY rent from him in the meantime or my eviction is out the window.

For me to hold an “eviction order”, and be told that I can’t toss the bum out then and there, told to me by an attorney no less, is SURREAL. Then, there are many people who believed getting a money judgement means you get the money right then and there too.

The one thing we did was NOT tell him the Marshalls are all backed up. I lied. I said I felt so bad for him that normally tenant’s stuff are tossed into the street like garbage, but in his case, I felt compassion for him, give him two months and let him pack in peace. But if he doesn’t pack up in two months, the marshalls will toss his stuff.

I didn’t tell him I’ll be in trouble with the town, or I have to get movers to haul his stuff away, or I have to wait 45 days for the marshalls.

It’s another big long story, I was due over $6,000 in back rent, that I never expected to see, but he started paying it over two years later, after he cleaned up, at $50.00/week. According to him, I was the only one that stood by him, even after his mom and dad tossed him out to the street. LOL. But then, having landlorded this long, guessed I’ve seen everything.

As to your to your other question on NYC prices.

Prices in NYC have gone up tremendously since 2002, when I sold me last 3 family rental, at that point for about $500K. I got it for 150K back in 1983. Prices for these had risen to nearly $800K, and fallen about 10% from it’s high. Given this, I visited some brokers to get another property or two on the market this past week.

For me, it’s either making $15K to $20K/year collecting rent, or cash out, and since I owe less than $200K on the place, take $500K off the table. Is it easier to make the $15k/year for the next 30 years, or take $500K NOW?? Not a tough decision.

Why are prices holding steady??

I also have rentals on Long Island. Property taxes in LI has escalated, and the economy lost a good deal of GOOD jobs not replaced. Taxes doubled during the last five years, and even wiith better rents, I net less than I did 7 to 8 years ago.

NYC, because of Wall Street, has done well, and this has fueld the RISE in prices as prices everywhere fell. And because of 'gas prices", traffic congestion, people are MOVING BACK into the city, to be nearer where the jobs are, rather than commuting to it, as was the case before.

That’s why where I am, in Bayside, they’re buying up 1-family homes with BIG lots and putting up 2 or 3 2 families in it’s place. City zoning made provisions for it as the master plan calls for an increase in population from the current 8 million to 10 million, in the next 20 to 30 years, and this is one way to accomodate it.

The other controversy is "McMansion, buyers tearing down old “Archie Bunker” type homes, to build houses more like the type and size out in LI, houses too big for the lot, and oversized compared to neighbors. This has led to zoning revisions such as the new classification R3-2a, as compared to the old R3-2 where you can build them “as of right”.

The long term trend also has to do with immigation, NYC and California experienced “white flight”, but yet has a NET GAIN in population, namely immigarnts.

When I sold my last 3-family, I worked with 4 brokers via an open listing, 2 American, 2 Chinese. The American brokers bought me one or two buyers each in the 20 days the property was on the market. The Chinese brokers bought me a dozen buyers each. I got two offers, both from Chinese buyers.

And the Chinese put $200K, $300K cash down, versus 10% or NO DOWN that non Chinese buyers favor.

The funny thing is a Chinese with $300K to plunk down would buy that 3 family on a small lot, as an investment, to rent to other immigrants. The American would pursue the American dream, and buy that big house in NJ, or in Florida.

If you seriously rely ONLY on DecisionPoint to make a decision to rent to a tenant, I wish you all the luck in the world, because YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT. DecisionPoint is just another input you your own decision making process.

For us we would never rent to a tenant with a felony criminal record in less than 5 yrs, particularly if they served jail time. The same is true of evictions. Those two items are deal breakers for us. Credit, I don’t care about.


Me too.

The only thing on this guy’s sheet is the misdemeanor, no jail time. No evictions either as per the County website; and he’s been here all his life.

Credit I do care about, unfortunately it’s hidden with DecisionPoint.

[quote author=wlovin link=topic=31206.msg144900#msg144900
Credit I do care about, unfortunately it’s hidden with DecisionPoint.
You can’t be too picky with credit when you are filling rentals, if they had great credit they probably wouldn’t be renting.

Another thing that is a big income generator for us is late payment fines. We charge high for this ($150 per incident), so if the tenant has iffy credit, I don’t really care because I get their last month’s rent up front, and we make an extra $150 per month in income when they are late. Last year, my late fee income covered my entire vacancy period for all of our properties.


 I had a tenant with a criminal record, she was one of the best tenants I ever had.  Paid her rent early, painstakingly cleaned the place, ect.  You never know.
 I wonder if I care too much about credit, I pretty much don't want to rent to people with mid FICOs less than about 650.  They just seem to have way too much sewage under the bridge.  They are the type who are going to find themselves way behind on their bills, then start asking for concessions on rental amounts and deadlines.
Credit I do care about, unfortunately it's hidden with DecisionPoint
It sounds like your screening system sucks. I don't know if you've tried to find a different one, but maybe if you get involved in your division of the National Apartment Association, they can refer you to a better one. I can screen credit, criminal, bad check, and eviction in just an hour or two online. I totally agree with redefining. I write into my lease agreements that if your rent is postmarked after the 3rd of the month, there will be a late fee of $75-$100, depending upon how much the rent is, but then I just save the envelopes postmarked after the 3rd and when it comes time for them to get the cleaning and security deposit back, I will deduct the requisite amount from the deposit.

I would be collecting those fees up as they happen, otherwise you have no deposit left to cover damages.