Would you rent to this couple?

One of our SFH rentals is now empty and ready to re rent.
We get towards the higher end for rent $$ here and it is a very nice house in a working class neighborhood, but things are a little slow just now.

A young married couple who recently filed bankrupcy over medical bills with the wife now staying home with the 2 young kids. Husband is the wage earner.
rent would take 50% of income but they have no other revolving credit.

I was thinking of giving them a shot by asking for double deposit and having parents in local area co-sign on the rental agreement. Normally I would not
but they seem like genuine folks who just fell on some hard times.

With a double deposit if they are in rent default this gives me ability to use their deposit for rent and the other deposit for the time period to evict them with
attorney help saying it takes about 3 weeks. Also thinkning of keeping it month to month rental versus the usual 12 mo lease. They want to stay put and spend time rebuilding their credit and i would have a longer term tenant…

What do you more experienced landlords say about this ??


I think month to month defeats the purpose. You might want to consider a six month lease instead if the term is a concern and the lease laws in your location are very tenant-favorable.

Tenants in their financial situation tend to be good long term tenants because they have poor credit, the ability to pay you each month and a family to support.

My only concern is that 50% of their income is going towards the rent. That’s the unknown. If something unexpected happens in their finances they could be late or skip a payment or several. This is always a chance you take on tenants however.

If I were in your shoes, I’d rent to them on a six month lease for starters.


Do they have any evictions on their record? Any criminal record? How long has the man worked at his job? Have you contacted the employer? Previous landlord references that you’ve checked? Have you confirmed the medical problems on their credit report?

Husband is the wage earner. rent would take 50% of income but they have no other revolving credit.

That is a recipe for disaster. How much is the rent? Is that 50% of his gross income or take-home pay? Have you seen a pay stub?

What happens when the car breaks down or one of the kids needs medical care. Inflation is running rampant (although the government is pretending everything’s ok). Can they afford $4 gas; higher food costs; and to still pay the rent?

Normally I would not but they seem like genuine folks who just fell on some hard times.

They’ve all got an excuse and seem like nice folks - right up to the minute they screw you!!! If you’re going to succeed as a landlord, you’ve got to learn to leave feelings and compassion out of the equation. This is business, not a charity. I know it sounds harsh, but you’ll become cynical after you’ve been in the business for a while.

If you could get a relative with proven assets to co-sign and if ALL the things I mentioned above checked out, I would take them on a month-to-month basis. If not, I would NOT accept them.


Thank you for all the input, especially Property Manager as you are right to the point that this indeed is a business. I would rather wait it out a month and pay the mortgage myself out of pocket and have the “right” people in place as Tenants.

No criminal problems, time on job just over 1 year and the take home is 50% of
net. Car is paid for. I have yet to speak with previous LL…

Have you actually verified that all the problems were medical bills?

Because every deadbeat I’ve ever had apply has told me that their credit problems are medical bills, yet their credit report shows 35 judgements and only one of them , usually under $200, is medical.

Everybody is really nice when they want something from you. The more expensive the “something” is, the nicer they will be.

I would turn these people down, even if absolutely everything checked out and this is the reaosn:

50% of the income is too much to spend on rent, especially when there are 2 expenisive children in the house.

Your applicants have absolutely no financial sense and still think they deserve better than they can afford.

Your house is the best in the neighborhood, and too expensive for them. They should be looking at houses where the rent is much less, because that is what they can afford.

If they think they deserve better than they can afford, then they will think that they deserve a 350 channel cable package. Then they will deserve a big screen TV, and then he will deserve a new car to drive to work.

They will be over their eyebrows in debt in no time, because they do not undestand what they can afford.

Now… if you had the cheapest place in the neighborhood, and it was still 50% of their income, I would look at all the other factors carefully. If they passed all the screening except for income and had financially sound co-signers, I might consider them. The difference would be that they were trying to stay within their means but could not find a cheaper place to live.

You really are not doing tenants any favors when you rent them a place they can’t afford. All you are doing is setting them up for failure, and setting yourself up for a very rough tenancy.

Never expect any gratitude for giving a tenant a break. The more you help them, the more fiercely they will resent you.

Stick to your written criteria. That’s one of the reasons you have it, so you won’t make decisions based upon emotion.

Never expect any gratitude for giving a tenant a break. The more you help them, the more fiercely they will resent you.

In the landlording business, NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED! NEVER forget that!


If they have no debt right now… chances are theywill incurr debt in the future so their DRI may only getr worse.

I’d probably say “Thansk, but no thanks” to them.

I usually ask income to be at least 2.5 times the rent, but this would depend. If rent is $2,500 and income is $5,000, that sounds reasonable. My application requirements have the caveat that the applicant must demonstrate the ability to pay rent. If rent is $1,150 and income is $2,300, that’s a pretty thin margin.
I completely agree with tatertot. I have never had a dead beat applicant say “I am a dead beat.” They always have a reason why their credit sucks. One applicant’s reason was that he got struck by lightning. I think you will usually find that dead beats have a long history of bad credit, not just one death in the family or one medical problem, which is the excuse that dead beats usually have for a lifetime of bad credit.
Prospective tenants often want more house than their income can afford, you need to be the one to exercise good judgement.

they don’t have revolving credit or a car note because they filed bankruptcy - not because they are financially sound.

do they not have medical insurance, or are they under insured? i’m guessing one of these two since he’s only been on his job 1 year.

a wife and two kids and not enough insurance = disaster waiting.

i would definitely look at their past and have to see it be very clean. if anything other than the medical shows up as negative, i’d decline them on the basis of credit history and income.

No I wouldn’t.

Young couple with kids earning a wage… sigh… people never learn.

Also remember that if you rent to someone who can’t realistically afford it, it’s your own fault. They may very well be good people with very good intentions, but when the chips are down, they’ll do whatever it takes to save their own neck. This is NO different than the current sub-prime mess. The only difference is that the govt. won’t be coming to YOUR rescue. Sometimes, the best deal you make is the one you you DON’T do. Good luck.

Thanks for all your help in this matter… I have told them no.

I have not had any qualified applicants to choose from lately.

I will wait until appropriately qualified applicant tenants want
to rent the property.