Poor Tenant

by admin on January 3, 2012

I had a wonderful property for rent on Craigslist and this time it’s just been a terrible experience.

One man emailed me and I called him and discussed the property then asked him a few questions: where he worked, his “situation” (family or not), and credit history. I then emailed him when I had made arrangements with the person who was showing it and warned him that if his credit was extremely bad (he said it was a bit bumpy) he may not want to consider moving forward because I do rely on credit as well as other criteria.

Here is what he wrote back. You can edit it as you see fit.

Well since everyones [sic] credit is not perfect as ours is not we will not proceed. BAD things happen to GOOD people and it is what it is, you can take the house and stick it up your ass. Have a wonderful day!!!!!  1229-11

Aren’t you just thrilled that you avoided renting to a rude boor!   We were landlords for five years or so and did the same pre-rental screening.  We had great tenants for four years but the last one certainly tried our patience.  He defaulted on paying his rent and we had to commence with eviction and trying to recoup the money he owed us.  Eventually took him to small claims court and won.  Never saw a dime of the money but his poor credit report certainly will follow him around.  What amazed me was the sense of entitlement he had…as if we owed him free housing.    Better to find out before renting just what kind of tenant someone may be.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Enna January 3, 2012 at 5:20 am

I agree with Admin on this one, good thing that you found out what he was like before he moved in. As a landlord you are allowed to ask about credit history. Do you ask for referances as well from previous landlords/ladies? If a tennat said his credit history was “bumpy” I’d have my suspisions unless he could show it was just a little bumpy. With a reaciton like that it makes you wonder how bad his credit history is. Well he might have problems finding decent housing if he is going to be rude to people like the OP. Saying “BAD things happen to GOOD people” sounds like a threat to me.

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Lisa Marie January 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

I have been a landlord for 20 years. Sometimes you get some real doosies in there. In my experience renting is not worth the hassle you get unless you own an apartment complex. The damage some people do is amazing. It’s not theirs so they just don’t care.

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squashedfrog January 3, 2012 at 6:38 am

Im with admin on this one. You certainly dodged a bullet there thank goodness.

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--Lia January 3, 2012 at 7:32 am

I’d like to see the exact wording of the “warning” about extremely bad credit. I would never try to excuse anything so rude as his email, but I can’t help wondering if there’s a back story with him that goes like this: He went through some bad times, ran into someone who sought to ruin his credit for something minor (a situation where he got behind, did everything he could to set things right including paying the bill in full, and still got turned over to a vindictive debt collector), is being dogged by a single black mark, and is now over sensitive. He realizes that the black mark is still following him around despite his ability and intention to pay, and he lashes out at you instead of the people who did him ill. That said, the admin is right. One nasty email is a whole lot better than an ongoing landlord/tenant relationship with someone who would write something like that.

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A January 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

Definately dodged a bullet there!

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The Elf January 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

Bad things do happen to good people. Without question, some people with bad credit are victims of circumstance, misfortune, or just plain victims. In this economy, we’re seeing more bad things happening to good people than ever. But it is more likely that someone with bad credit has made a history of poor financial decisions. Perhaps they haven’t faced the truth about their decisions (it is always someone else’s fault) and that is what gives them the sense of entitlement and the rude attitudes. Of course I don’t speak for everyone. Someone with a history of bad financial decisions can be self-aware and polite, even as they continue to make bad decisions. And someone who has taken steps to turn their financial history around will still have a history following them, at least for a few years. But speaking generally……

A good friend of mine has bad credit due to poor financial decisions. Time and again he’s made some head scratchers. But he’s an adult of sound mind, so the only thing I can do is scratch my head. As a result, he’s been unable to rent through normal means and instead looks to share a place with friends. We’ve seen him destroy these friendships through failure to pay rent (or failing even to keep up with his share of the housework) while simultaneously acting entitled to a nice place to live. The latest roommate arrangement is about to implode and I know he’ll be looking again. During the search, he always complains about bad credit keeping him from the good rentals, without ever acknowledging WHY the landlords have very good reason for being suspicious!

I’m not a landlord, but after seeing this friend plow through multiple rentals, I never want to be.

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Xtina January 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

Why can’t people either just pay their bills or be honest about what they can afford? I guess I am hopelessly practical, but I fail to see why anyone would even make the effort, make an enemy, and make a public record of one’s inability to pay bills (and get all huffy about it) when they know they can’t afford something. As if one is OWED housing wherever one wants, or to live for free, regardless of whether “BAD things happen to GOOD people”. Just because one claims they’re a “good” person doesn’t mean that the world is their oyster or that everyone should take their word for it. People who are selling or renting are probably also average joes who can’t afford the potential losses should that person default. Can’t blame people for being cautious lest they find themselves in the same boat as those people. I am unfortunately in the rental business now due to inability to sell my former home in the bad real estate market—I sure can’t afford to pay some squatter’s bills while they live in my house and actively destroy it while I’m fighting to evict them.

I know good and well that bad things do happen to good people–and we should be sympathetic to people who have fallen on hard times. And if a person is truly a victim of what I’ll call “last minute credit ruination” (i.e. you’ve had a good record until a rough few months), I, as a landlord or creditor, would be willing to consider other records as proof of ability to pay–but the fact of the matter is, one’s past behaviors are usually a pretty good indicator of what kind of payment behavior one can expect.

And when one tops it off with a nasty note like this, I will be patting myself on the back that I avoided a nightmare tenant!!

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SHOEGAL January 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

Nice message! Not necessary to do something like this . . . is this man really that good of a person if he felt the need to send such a nasty email out. Can’t blame the OP for wanting to protect their house and financial situation.

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Andi January 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

Wow. I thought credit reports were pretty standard when renting – I always had mine run at larger complexes and hubby had his run when here Ted from an individual. In fast – that landlord asked basically the same question as the OP concerning his credit score – letting him know up front that if he was below a certain score he would not get the place. I don’t recall either of us being offended by the requests or question (I remember hubby being a bit worried – he’d had some things on his he wasn’t sure had @fallen off” yet)

It’s smart buisness to get the most information as possible before renting out a living space to someone. While yes, sometimes bad things do happen to good people, a landlord gas to protect their assests and credit scores offer insight into a person’s abity and desire to pay bills/bs responsible.

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Margo January 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

I agree with Admin, it sounds as though you may have had a lucky escape there. His response seems odd – to my mind, a (potential) landlord saying “if your credit is extremely bad I probably won’t go ahead” is very different to the (potential) landlord saying “your credit must be excellent”.

Out of interest, OP, do yousay anything on the Craigslist ad about the fact that you will carry out a credit check? It seems a fairly basic thing so it is odd he should react so violently.

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Gracie C. January 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

I agree with the Admin about the man being a rude boor and that he might not make the best renter for her. However, the place for the information that the OP imparted to the gentleman AFTER already going back and forth with him is in the original Craig’s List ad – something along the lines of “Credit history will be heavily weighed. Only credit scores of (#) and above will be considered” or something along those lines.

Additionally, you had a conversation with the gentleman, he admitted his history was a little bumpy. In that moment you should have said, “Once I review I’ll let you know if we can move forward.” (which should just be your standard reply anyway). As the land lord you get to do those things – make your requirements known upfront and let people know there will be a review process.

What you don’t get to do is take his admission of “a bit bumpy” (having no idea what that meant because you hadn’t seen his report) and translate that to “really bad” and suggest to a complete stranger that he reconsider moving. If you had said what you said to me, I would have been mad, too (though I wouldn’t have relied the way he did). It was judgemental, and quite frankly – you don’t get to decide whether or not this gentleman moves – and he might have no choice in the matter for a variety of reasons. You don’t get to give him your opinion of his life plans. You are not his financial advisor or life coach. You can decline to rent to him based on his credit history, but what he does with his life is none of your business. The man was rude, but so was the OP.

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Aje January 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

I am renting a place for the first time in my life. One day a lady from a class I teach told me she knew my landlords (not a difficult thing, it´s a small town) and that her husband had once lent my landlord a lot of money, and had yet to pay it back. She suggested that I not pay my rent, or that if I´m ever behind, that I shouldn´t feel bad if I´m a little short.

I have disregarded her advice. Regardless of how he was treated others, he´s been kind to me. Regardless of how much he may or may not ´need´my money (the family is obviously wealthy, although they are putting 3 kids through college right now, which I suppose is probably why he hasn´t paid her back) it is what we agreed on when I signed the lease.

I asked her if she was really suggesting that I damage MY reputation as a renter in order to get back at my landlord for HER husband.

Where do these people come from I wonder?

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SV January 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

Bad things DO happen to good people! But good people do not send abusive emails when their bad credit needs to be discussed. A good person would explain their credit history and allow you to draw your own conclusions. A BAD person makes it your fault. Thankfully for you, this is not someone you will now have a legal contract with for the next year or so!

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Jennifer January 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

Credit reports are standard when renting. At least you didn’t spend the money on the background check.

If there’s some black mark on your credit – the OP was giving the LW the opportunity to say, “Yeah, when I was 19 I got into a bad situation, let me explain it fully.” This reaction suggests this person had bad credit and probably was lose with paying their bills (the defensiveness).

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Serenity S. January 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

Every place I have rented as done a credit check. I wouldn’t bother warning people in the future, just tell them if their application is declined or accepted. I don’t think you did anything wrong OP. And I agree with Admin that you probably escaped a bad renter by this man’s rude e-mail.

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NOPH January 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

Wow. What a jerk! In my 20s, my credit wasn’t too great. I never had any problems renting a place and was always able to rent the exact place I wanted. Every landlord I had warned me on the front end that bad credit could be a deal breaker. Despite my credit rating back then, I was always able to sign a new lease. Why did each landlord decide I was a good person to rent to even with my credit? I’m convinced that it was because of how I conducted my business via email, phone, and in person. Each landlord was able to discern my character and decide that despite mistakes made in my very early 20s, I’d be a good tenant. And I was – I paid rent on time, did not abuse their property and with one apartment’s exception, took care of maintence issues myself (such as my stove catching fire and needing a new heating element, cost me $40, but saved my wonderful landlord the cost of hiring someone to change out the part.). Too bad this guy doesn’t read this site. Our admin has shown us many many times that simple polite manners can open many many doors. If the potential renter had been open, honest, professional, and polite with the owner, she/he may have considered the tenant despite rocky credit.

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Cat Whisperer January 3, 2012 at 11:00 am

We live between two rental properties: a duplex on one side, a triplex on the other. In the 27 years that we’ve lived in our home, the neighbors who own these properties have had some absolutely mind-boggling situations.

We learned that there is a class of renters that are professional deadbeats. The neighbor who owned the duplex was a really nice, decent man. He rented one of the units of the duplex to a lady who was inn her fifties, by the look of her. She had a clean credit report and everything seemed find. She moved in and the fun started. Shortly after she moved in, her son came to stay with her. He was just out of state prison from drug dealing charges. He moved his girlfriend in, and they moved some of their buddies in. We never did find out how many people were living there, it seemed like about half a dozen, but they kept changing.

Here’s the deal: after the mom moved out, they stopped paying rent. Eviction proceedings can take as long as a year if the tenants know how to game the legal system, and these people did.

Their gimmick: after not paying rent for three months, they would tell the landlord that if he’d pay them a sum of money and promise not to report them to the credit bureaus as an eviction, they’d move out and he’d get his unit back in decent shape. If he went through the legal procedures, they’d stay until the sheriffs came to evict them, they wouldn’t pay rent, and they’d wreck the property.

Our neighbor who owned the duplex had never heard of this form of extortion and he told them he’d follow the letter of the law.

So…they quit paying rent. The mom declared bankruptcy, which put a hold on proceedings for some time. The son and his buddies were dealing drugs out of the unit. They quit maintaining the place while the legal eviction proceedings were under way. It took over a year.

When they moved out, our neighbor who owned the place went in and found that they had quite literally rendered the place uninhabitable. They had taken a sledgehammer to the bathroom fixtures and smashed the sink, the bathtub, the toilet; they had poured plaster down the drains to stop everything up and had flooded the place. They had knocked holes in the walls and had splashed black and dark blue gloss enamel paint, very hard to cover, all over the walls and had spray-painted obscenities over everything. They slashed every screen on every window and broke the biggest windows.

Our neighbor who owned the duplex never recovered from this. He and his wife had bought the duplex as an income property to give them some money in retirement. They lost literally tens of thousands of dollars on this situation and so they decided to sell the property.

If the worst thing OP has had happen to her is getting a nasty eMail from someone she refused to rent to, she’s been pretty lucky. Being a landlord is not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart.

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C January 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

Gracie : I believe you misunderstood the OP. I didn’t see anywhere, where OP was judgemental or where OP was making the decision of whether or not the potential renter moved. OP said “You may want to consider not moving forward” but I interpreted that as perhaps this potential renter may want to pull out now, if he believes his credit is bad -rather than wasting both of their time.

I don’t see anywhere in the letter, where OP was offering an opinion on the person moving or even financial advice or judgement being passed.

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Margaret January 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

Gracie C. — Every time your credit history is pulled, it lowers your score a bit. I imagine that is why the OP suggested to the potential renter that he might not want to proceed. If the OP chose not to rent to him because of his credit, then it would be just that much more difficult for him when the next place pulled his credit report. I think the “move forward” meant “move forward to pulling up your credit report”.

That being said, I don’t see why the fellow couldn’t have gotten a copy of his own credit report (does not affect your score if you request a copy for yourself), and showed that for a prescreening. If it were bad enough that he couldn’t rent, then no damage to his score. If it was acceptable, then the landlord could pull an official report to verify.

Whatever his credit score, though, he clearly slammed the door shut on that rental opportunity with his rudeness.

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acr January 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

My aunt and uncle own a rental home. To keep things simple, the home has its own checking account. All rent from the home goes into that account, and all expenses come from that account.

After renting this home for 10 years, there is $5000 in the checking account. That’s it. So they made $500 a year.

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Emwithme January 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

I have *hideous* credit, in part due to mistakes I made in my late teens (and spending my 20s alternately hiding from them and then refinancing to try and get on top of things). Then, in my late 20s, I had some mental health issues (finally) diagnosed and treated and handle things so much better now.

However, as a result of all these bad choices I made relatively early in my adult life, combined with some (physical) health problems that meant I had to reduce my work hours (despite my mental health issues I always worked full time), meant that I had to file for bankruptcy.

It was a *really* steep learning curve for me. I now have no credit (except for a car loan I had pre-bankruptcy that the lender allowed me to keep paying as my payments on that were current, and the car is now worth less than the loan), I don’t want any credit, and am working slowly on building up my rating, slowly but surely.

However, during all this, the one thing that was paid on time every time was my rent. Fortunately, it’s only recently that I’ve needed to rent through an agency (where credit checks are usually done) rather than from a private individual (here in the UK it’s rare for an individual to do credit checks) and, as my fiance has fabulous credit (and some capital back up!), our current home is in his name only. Previously, I’ve relied on good written references from previous landlords, along with showing my pay slips/bank statements.

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Cat January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

If he would send you an email like that, imagine what he would do if he had access to your place.

I went through the rental process after I bought a condo in which my aunt promised to spend every winter of her life if I would pay all the bills-and then told me after four months that she had changed her mind and would never be coming back. I figure it cost me about $25,000 a month for her mini-vacation.

I had told her many times that the only reason I was buying the condo was so she did not have to spend her winters housebound because of the heavy snows in her part of the country. She promised over and over she would be staying there every winter or I would never have done it.

I was very lucky to get good tenants who loved the condo I had so loving restored and all the Oriental rugs and Ethan Allen furniture I bought for my aunt so she would be proud of her “winter residence”. I learned that, just because it’s a relative, you can’t guarantee to good tenant.

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AS January 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Yes, it is true that bad things do happen to good people.

But… (do I need to even complete this sentence?There are so many things wrong here).

If something bad had really happened to him (like they had some heavy, unexpected medical bill or something), he could have politely said that his credit report is bad, and may be state a reason if he wanted. There was no need to flip off on the landlord. But as the admin said, at least you knew him before signing the lease.

On a slightly different note, I find the craze about credit history in this country quite odd. Nothing against the people who like to check credit history (I would do too if I were in such a situation). But what strikes me to be odd is that a person who does not own a credit card, and only uses his/her debit card is denied whatever they are trying to get (like loans) because they don’t have a credit history. It is ironic because if a person could live for 5 to 10 years without the need for using a credit card, they evidently know how to manage their money. But the “credit history” thing hardly seems to take that into consideration.

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Gracie C. January 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Ah – C and Margaret, you are correct. My apologies to the OP. I somehow missed the “forward” part, and read it as he might want to consider not moving. Which is, of course, completely different. I take back my assessment that the OP was rude. However, as an aside – it might still be worth noting in her ad (if she doesn’t already) the general credit score (or rating) she is looking for.

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Luna January 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

As a person who has been homeless and in situations where I did need to know my squatter’s rights, I empathize for anyone trying to secure a home, but seriously! Even when I lived in tent city where half the occupants were drunk or worse all the time, we still maintained a base level of respect. Shelter ought to be an unalienable right, but at the moment it is not, it’s something you have to fight for, but we have to learn to pick our battles and landlords trying to help you get a roof aren’t the the enemy.

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Been there January 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I might point out that the landlord isn’t being too smart asking about the “situation” as that’s one of the questions on the “don’t ask that” list.

My parents rented out an apartment. I have seen everything possible when it comes to tenants. On the other hand, I would say that if you are going to require credit checks, be upfront about that. Maybe even give the person a place to explain any issues on it (divorce can wreck havoc for example).

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Kate January 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

This really seems to be crossing the etiquette/legal line. The “etiquette” issue seems to be – don’t threaten to stick things up peoples asses. Surely, so basic a rule as to be unworthy of the front page. The only interest comes from trying to weed out unworthy tenants, a gigot regulated area that the OP likely ran a foul of (many states prohibit discriminating based on family status, so landlords are advised not to make inquiries along those lines).

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Kitty Lizard January 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I learned the hard way that it pays to check your credit rating periodically. I was in a near fatal accident
in 2002. I was in the hospital for weeks, and in rehab and physical therapy for over a year. Over a
hundred thousand in medical bills. Insurance paid, finally. The creditors were all given letters of
protection and insurance paid all the bills, but it didn’t stop creditors from hounding me from morning till night. In 2005 we bought a house. I had always had stellar credit. It was an horrendous shock to find out from the bank that my credit had been totally obliterated, even though every bill from the accident had been paid in full. Luckily, my husband’s credit was untouched by the accident and he was able to get
the mortgage. I was left disabled by the accident and was unable to work again (I now work in his office,
which we have arranged to accomodate my disabilities) but it was truly a nasty shock. I now check my
credit twice a year. It has come back, somewhat, but I doubt it will ever regain the level it once was,
particularly since I cannot hold a real job again.

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Cat Whisperer January 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Lia, I have to comment about your speculation that maybe this guy is just a normal person who had one bad situation, and he’s just “lashing out” at the OP instead of whoever it was who caused him to have bad credit.

This is a load of bull-caca. The idea that misfortunes or a bad situation are mitigation for acting like a jerk is a concept that needs to be killed dead and buried.

I encountered this situation with a relative who took a job that didn’t turn out the way he thought it would, bought a house just a year before the housing bubble burst, and lavished money on a girlfriend who threw him over and left him in debt. This relative and I had some business dealings relating to a jointly-owned property, and he tried to pull some garbage stunts in an attempt to gain control of the property so he could sell it and get out of the financial hole he was in. My husband and I caught him at it, stopped him from doing it, and are in the process of negotiating a legal ending of the partnership and sale of the property.

This relative heaped abuse on us and caused us no end of grief, costing us money and causing us to spend a lot of time, some of it which resulted in my husband having to take unpaid leave from work, to resolve the situation. Now we’ve turned the corner, we’re selling the property for more money than my relative would have gotten for it if his takeover attempt had worked. And this relative is telling us that we should forgive him his behavior because he was under stress when he did it.

I told him: you didn’t do it because you were under stress. You behaved the way you did because you are a JERK.

It’s truth. I’ve known people who were in worse straits than this relative ever was, who would never have dreamed of behaving the way he behaved. My husband and I have been in some pretty dire situations when we were young, both individually and as a couple, and we didn’t lash out at people and behave like jerks. We tried to figure out what the right thing to do was, we accepted responsibility for our actions, and we did the right thing.

People who “lash out” at innocent people, who take their frustrations and anger out on others, aren’t doing it because they’re in bad circumstances and life is raining ca-ca on them. They’re doing it because they’re jerks.

Everyone exeriences problems in life, we all get treated unfairly sometimes, and not everyone lashes out at others. Many people are able to experience misfortune with great grace and class. Other people lash out and rationalize that because they feel they’ve gotten a raw deal, it’s okay to treat other people badly, even people who have nothing to do with their misfortunes. That’s just plain bad manners and bad character, and it isn’t excusable because of circumstances. These people are jerks. No excuses.

No excuses for the guy who wrote the letter to the OP. He’s a jerk and the OP is lucky not to have him for a tenant. It’s that simple.

“Class is grace under pressure.” Truer words were never written.

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TheVapors January 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Bad things happen to good people. They happen all the time.

However, with this type of a reply, the potential tenant wasn’t making themselves out to be such a good person. Quite the opposite.

Admin’s right. You dodged a bullet. This person doesn’t sound like they’d be a reasonable tenant. If they blew up over such a small thing, can you imagine the way they’d handle any problems that came up after renting the place to them?

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gramma dishes January 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Cat Whisperer ~~ Did the elderly couple who owned the place ever call law enforcement?

There were so many violations of zoning laws, rental regulations (how many occupants can be in a unit), the drug dealing, etc.) that probably could have sped up the eviction considerably. And once the tenant’s son made the threat, that ALONE should have been enough to send him right back to prison!

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Annaham January 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm

The “have a wonderful day!!!!” bit at the end is kind of strangely hilarious, considering the rest of the email.

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Bunnyface January 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm

As a landlord who inherited an awesome tenant who might be moving soon- what is the usual ‘acceptable’ rental credit score? I would love to know, since before reading this thread, I didn’t know I was allowed to look at credit scores of potential renters. What is considered good? Thanks to anyone who has info for me.

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Aria January 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

He should have let you run his rating. I remember, when I was doing an order for a customer, she was so concerned about the check and kept saying that her credit score was bad. I ran it and she came out in the 600′s, which qualified. She was so relieved and I told her it wasn’t GREAT but it sure wasn’t bad. I had people trying to get in with 400′s. :)

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Cat Whisperer January 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Gramma dishes, the couple that owned the duplex called the police. My husband and I called the police. Several other neighbors nearby called the police. We were all told pretty much the same thing: the police (LA County Sheriffs and LAPD, the duplex is literally right on a boundary line) were aware that there was drug-dealing going on in the house. Their investigation was, in their words, “active,” and for that reason the police were unable to discuss the status of the investigation with us. We were all advised to call the police if there were “suspicious” activities we were aware of.

The police advised the couple that owned the duplex to take the tenant’s suggestion and offer them a sum of money, I believe $1,000 was the sum mentioned, if they would agree to vacate their unit in a week. (This in addition to not pursuing a judgement for the rent that was owed and returning the security deposit in its entirety if the unit was undamaged.)

The couple who owned the duplex were absolutely indignant at this suggestion. They felt, quite rightly, that it was extortion and was, or should be, illegal.

The police told them that was probably true, but that if they didn’t accept the proposal and decided to go through with eviction, there was nothing the police could do while the process took its course. That’s when the term “professional dead-beats” came up, and we found that there are people who live rent-free by gaming the system. They know the law, they know how to drag the process out, and they also know that most landlords will offer them money to move out by a specific deadline rather than pursuing the legal remedy of eviction.

I saw the wreck these tenants made of a nice duplex unit, and it was mind-boggling. There was one good thing that came of this, though: the couple who owned the duplex sold it to the property owner on the other side, which happened to be a church which ran a Christian school. They’d had their eyes on the property for decades, literally, because they wanted it for housing missionaries and visiting pastors.

They bought the duplex, and since then the worst thing I can say about the people who have lived there is that one of the current tenants is a nice lady who likes to sing while she vacuums, and she’s a worse singer than I am, which is quite an accomplishment. But I can live with that. ;^))

FWIW, I have to say that the professional deadbeats weren’t the worst neighbors we had. We woke up one night around 3:00 AM with the police standing in our yard, taking cover behind our fence with guns drawn ten feet from our bedroom, screaming at the then-tenants next door to come out of the unit with their hands up. (Long story behind this.) That was the worst.

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Redblues January 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Hmm. BAD things happen to entitled, vulgar, ill-mannered jerks too. I have an idea why such BAD things may have happened in the first place.

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MellowedOne January 4, 2012 at 8:05 am

AS, you said,

“what strikes me to be odd is that a person who does not own a credit card, and only uses his/her debit card is denied whatever they are trying to get (like loans) because they don’t have a credit history. It is ironic because if a person could live for 5 to 10 years without the need for using a credit card, they evidently know how to manage their money. But the “credit history” thing hardly seems to take that into consideration.”

Actually, although it’s great to NOT depend on credit, doing so does nothing to prove a person can pay back monies on time, on the creditor’s terms, over an extended length of time. While you may pay your bills in an excellent manner when services are rendered, you have established no reputation for paying back monies advanced to you to buy things you will be paying off over several years.

And a credit history will include things that will show creditors proof of your ‘stability’..length of time in employment, and in residence for example.

While it may seem like a Catch 22 situation to obtain a ‘history’ (ex. how do I get one if no one will loan me anything), it’s really not. You start off slowly, such as by getting a gas card or credit card/department store card. Anything where credit is available to you, and you can establish a pay history. And then slowly, sensibly, build it up.

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Xtina January 4, 2012 at 9:24 am

@ Cat Whisperer–that story is exactly why my husband and I feared becoming landlords and just wanted to sell the house and be done with it. We had some problem neighbors in the old neighborhood and I can attest to the fact that there are times when the accused’s rights are apparently more important than the victim’s. It scared us and the neighbors to death that the police acted as though their hands are tied, but I think it’s because, unless the “bad guys” are actually seen or caught BY THE POLICE doing what the neighbors are claiming (and no, video surveillance by a neighbor is not permissible evidence), then the police can only stand back and watch. Sucks, but that’s the downside of “guilty until proven innocent”.

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Ann January 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

Although it’s somewhat off topic, ACR’s post caught my eye.

ACR misses the point of owning a rental property.

The idea is someone else pays the mortgage, while the landlord gains equity in property value. Once the mortgage is paid off, or the property is sold, is when the landlord makes money.

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--Lia January 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm

This happened to a friend. She signed a lease with a rental agency for an apartment in a large complex. When she wanted to move, she went to the office and explained that she wanted to accept a job in another city. Would it be alright if she forfeited her deposit and left the place immaculate? The manager said that yes, that would be fine. Since they had a long list of people wanting to get into the building, the unit would not be left vacant. The company would lose no money. All happy, she followed through. She had enough friends in the building to know that the company was able to rent her apartment immediately. She gave her forwarding address because she wanted to keep in touch with the folks she left behind.

She got an official letter demanding rent the moment it would have been considered late a month later. She wrote a letter stating her confusion. She did break the lease, but it was with permission. She started getting dunning letters. They wanted the rent from her despite presumably getting rent from the new tenant. It turned out that the company pretty much knew that no one was in the position of getting a lawyer to defend themselves from the blackmail. Eventually they turned in a report to lower her credit score. Her billpaying ability was stellar in all other regards, but the black mark on her score followed her for years.

My point is that credit scores get treated like convictions though the defendant has never had a trial. Granted many, even most, people with bad credit have made bad decisions that they should pay for. But others are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. And in that case, I can understand the desire to lash out because one is being accused without having a chance to defend oneself.

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ladycrim January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Geez, what a shining star. Glad he didn’t move in!

I wish you were renting in my area. I just signed onto a new apartment, and the hunt for something affordable that wasn’t a scam was a true exercise in frustration.

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MellowedOne January 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm

@Lia..did your friend bother to get anything in writing from the manager? As the court-tv shows repeatedly proclaim, “get it in writing”.

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MidoriBird January 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I suppose I’m fairly realistic about what I can afford. I’ve lived in the same small apartment for nine years now and my landlord extended quite a bit of trust when he allowed me to pay my deposit in incremints (I lived with my brother for a year when I first moved away from my parents’ house) and while it didn’t involve a credit check (I was pretty young and didn’t have credit at that point) I do know he asked around about me first. Reputations do often precede a person.

Rent, bills, etc have always been my first priority and I’ve never been late on my rent or bills, but I also live within my means to avoid debt. I don’t deal with personal credit much but I do have to wonder if there is a story in the rude guy’s past that he might be seething over, but something unfair that ruined his credit. “It wasn’t my FAULT, no matter what the numbers say; why can’t you understand that?!” comes to mind.

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MidoriBird January 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

This also brings to mind this woman in the surrounding area who has the same name as me (just with an extra letter in the first name spelling). Her middle initial is also just one letter off of mine. Because of this, I’ve learned more about her, her credit rating and payment history, bounced checks, medical bills and the like, and I know she’s gotten my medical test results in the mail due to mix-ups (she once saw my own doctor the same day as me). I’ve even gotten threatening phone calls from some car company around here, with them literally yelling and accusing me of stuff over the phone, because of this woman. When I kept telling them they had the wrong person, they kept calling me a liar. I don’t own a car and I don’t even know how to DRIVE!!! (phobia.) Finally they said, ” Is the last digits of your SSN XXXX?” I told them no, and finally they hung up, only to repeat the process a week and a half later. They ever do it again I’m going to persue legal action for harrassment, although by now this was well over a year ago.

It is also a habit of mine to check, constantly, that when I need to submit certain information in places around here (such as doing taxes) that they have the correct file. I can hardly rent a movie without this coming up if the clerk at the moment doesn’t know who I am visually. My records are pristine wherever I go, because I pay on time when I say I’m going to pay it. My word is my bond and I don’t want my reputation damaged by someone who just happens to have the same name as me, but bounces checks and, apparently, has an awful credit history.

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Gracie C. January 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

@Mellow One – the I think the point AS was trying to make is that some people don’t actually WANT credit cards. They want to live within their means, save for things they want and pay them outright and not necessarily be forced to have credit cards just to show that they can manage their money. It doesn’t mean they won’t be able to pay someone off over the long run. It just means there are few things (and perhaps a house is their only acception) that they are willing to purchase that way. The fact that they aren’t using credit is because they don’t need the cards to manage their money. Credit as it exists today is a relatively new phenomenon. Credit cards did not exist when my grandparents bought their home, and yet they were still able to secure a loan. My parents did not have credit cards when they bought their home (43 years ago), and yet they were still able to secure a loan. Credit history is a lazy way out for a loan officer as they are no longer required to do any work to determine whether or not to underwrite a loan. They just look at some number that could be misleading (for a variety of reasons and in either direction) and make a decision.

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--Lia January 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

Mellowed One– No, it was all so friendly that she didn’t think to get anything in writing. At the time, demanding something written would have felt like a mistake in etiquette, like getting something in writing that the friends you invite to your home for dinner will be responsible if they trash the place. She was young, and she didn’t think of it. I’m reminded of how much of the humor on Big Bang Theory comes from “the roommate agreement” in which there’s a long legal document covering every contingency from overnight guests to what happens if one invents a time machine and travels to another dimension. (Which is to say that I agree with you. Looking back, I’m sure she thinks she was foolish. She should have gotten it in writing– she just didn’t.)

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Enna January 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

@ Grandma dishes I’m of the same opinion. I’m surprsied that they weren’t eviceted more quickly for their illegal activites no matter how much they could “play” the system.

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MellowedOne January 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Gracie C–Oh, I completely understand about not wanting credit cards. My 21yr old daughter just recently got one, and only because she felt she had to. The reason is that we are not living in the credit-issuing days of our parents. Many a disastrous banking decision was made because there was no standardized way of assessing a person’s creditworthiness. A loan officer might arbitrarily approve (or reject) a loan based on appearance, a personal relationship with the applicant, or a “gut” feeling. Being able to access a credit history is a very efficient way of accessing vital information quickly–all very useful in loan processing. A report can give a loan officer a fairly good impression of a person’s stability and ability to pay.

Lia–I understand. The expression, ‘hindsight is 20/20′, is oh so true!! I just try and learn a little from Judge Judy if I can LOL :D

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Ergala January 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

Just need to comment. Our credit is awful 99% because of medical bills. Our insurance refused to pay some major bills when they should have covered them and we ended up footing the bill. Everywhere here does a credit check..however, if they just look at scores they are missing the big picture. Every single bill we have had in the past 3 or 4 years has been paid in full and on time. Our rent is never late, neither is our phone/cable bill. Even the subsidized housing companies here check credit and the people they are renting to are low income and usually can’t rent anywhere else. They can and do deny people apartments based on credit rating. But I am just saying, just because a person’s score is low doesn’t mean they are bad renters. Our rent is always on time, we are respectful, we just hit a bad curve in life and are working our way back up.

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delislice January 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

A reasonable person, in response to telling a potential landlord that his credit is “a bit bumpy,” should have followed up with a reasonable explanation of what he considers “a bit bumpy.”

If I were the potential landlord, I might have replied to “a bit bumpy” by asking for a fuller explanation myself. Still, saying, “If your credit is extremely bad you might not want to move forward,” though a bit clumsy, is an okay response. It’s still an invitation to say more, that is, to explain what “a bit bumpy” means to you.

When I was in graduate school, our credit rating did get a bit bumpy, and that’s pretty much how we would phrase it when necessary. When it was appropriate, we would explain more fully, and also explain how it was on the mend and we were back on the road to stability. And then leave it to the other person to decide whether this was to be filed under “bad things happen to good people” or whether we represented too much of a risk.

There are all sorts of explanations for the guy’s response. Explanations aside, this is not a person I would want to have prolonged dealings with.

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