This article was posted on Sunday, Aug 12, 2012

The following article, shared by a colleague offers a different viewpoint than the typical landlording advice, and may even stir a bit of controversy.  Most landlords answer the question serving as the title of this article with an empathetic, YES!  There is no way you should ever rent to a resident who has been evicted.  Those landlords have a legitimate case and point.
However, if you rent to low-income (even middle or upper income) or marginal residents you may run into applicants who have been evicted.  ‘s just a fact of life “ the lower the income and marginal residents have a higher incidence of evictions than do renters who earn $100,000 a year.
There can be numerous reasons for those evictions, some that will absolutely disqualify them from renting from you and some that just mean they had some hard luck and probably will not be evicted again.

In a slow rental market (one where it’s hard to find residents), you might want to consider renting to applicants who have been evicted.  If you make it clear than an eviction will not absolutely disqualify them from renting from you, you may find out that some applicants were in a situation that simply made it impossible to pay the rent or that they had a roommate or spouse who created the problem that precipitated the eviction.

Ask on the screening form or rental application the reason for a past eviction and you may get an explanation that will satisfy you, a reason that you will not disqualify them for.  Of course, you will verify the information they give you.
Be extremely careful, though.  You need to satisfy yourself that the applicant is telling you the truth without embellishment and without forgetting to tell you part of the story.  Sometimes people really do learn lessons.
Other times, they haven’t changed a bit, but have gotten really good at telling sob stories to make a landlord’s heart bleed.  What follows are some possibly legitimate reasons why a resident would not have been able to pay his or her rent and was evicted.  You decide how much credence to give them.  Bad residents always have an excuse; it is our job to decide if the excuse is legitimate.

¢    Loss of job, layoff
¢    Rent increases
¢    Loss of housing subsidy (look at this one carefully, people don’t lose them for no reason)
¢    Loss of other income subsidy, such as child support
¢    Medical, transportation or other crisis
¢    High utility bills (then they would have to satisfy you that would not be a problem now)
¢    Money stolen
¢    Budgeting difficulties (how has the situation that caused it changed?)
¢    Loss of roommate
¢    Poor communication with landlord, case manager

Here are some reasons for eviction that would make you never, ever want to rent to an applicant:

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¢    Damage to rental property
¢    Violent crimes
¢    Drug dealing
¢    Prostitution
¢    Child molestation
¢    Perpetrator of domestic violence
¢    Disturbance of neighbors
¢    Drug addicts not in a rehab program
¢    Keeping a filthy rental
¢    Gang members
¢    Left children unsupervised

A rule of thumb is that you want a satisfactory landlord reference between their eviction and their renting from you to show with actual, concrete evidence, rather than just their word for it.

Robert Cain is with Cain Publications, Inc.,  Reprinted with permission.

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