Living with Dad more than 10 days--Accept or Reject Tenant--DWI 1st offense > .15

Small park in Texas. Grown son has started living with Dad already living in park. Per the rules a person can only stay in the park after 10 days if they get approved with a background check. I ran background check and the son has a DWI in July 2015 >.15 blood alcohol with a credit score of 488.

I usually only look at evictions and criminal history. Should I reject or approve? I am sure Dad will be quite upset if I deny. Advice?

Thank you,


As long as you’re receiving rent on time and there are no rules violations, there’s no reason to get overly involved in the residents’ personal lives. There are a huge number of people with DWIs (about half of Hollywood from what I’ve seen) and that was years ago and he would be consider redeemed by the legal system since he met the conditions of whatever the penalty was. His credit score is really irrelevant because the dad is paying the rents and owns the home.

If this was somebody buying a home, you might need to go to a higher standard, but a person staying in another person’s home is not a big deal.

But whatever you do, you need to make it a consistent policy or you could be accused of discrimination. With changes in the way landlords treat criminal offenses, you need to talk to your state MHA to make sure you are 100% in compliance of the new policies in your methodology.


Be very carful in allowing adult children to move in with parents. It is usually a major red flag indicating they are irresponsible adults that could pose a problem in your community. Remember that once you allow them in you are stuck with them. It is always easier to screen out than to evict.
If dad dies or moves out the son becomes your permanent tenant. Establish clearly defined standards and enforce them without exception.
I screen all potential adult tenants by the same standards and for my community a 488 credit score does not qualify.

I would speak with the dad to understand the situation and why the kid is moving back in - he may be just as motivated as you to get him out of there and just have him on a 3 month lease (dad can use you as the backstory why son has to leave on a timetable). Approaches like this are a way to build good will with your tenants when they have problems, instead of taking the easy road to just say no. There is loyalty and value with empathy.

On screening I personally don’t screen out tenants based on non-violent misdemeanors. A 488 credit score for the tenant that has never been paying to begin with is not really something to measure - so long as the father has been a solid tenant.

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Always keep in mind when evaluating situations such as this that no good deed ever goes unpunished in our business. Assess the facts and leave your emotions at home when making any/all business decisions.
I have faced this situation many times with my adult only community and always make it crystal clear to my tenants that their adult children are not registered tenants and are not permitted to stay long term. They are only guests and as such their ability to stay as entirely dependant on their behaviour.
Fact is I have never had a tenant that actually wanted their children moving in with them long term and for that reason appreciate me making it clear to their “guest” that they are not welcome to stay for any extended period of time.

As a park owner I would not allow the son to be on the lease. It is not because of the DWI but the credit score. If you told me I could have only one measure of a persons character, responsibility and suitability as a tenant it would be the credit score, hands down. I am willing to discuss extenuating circumstance (e.g., medical bills, recent divorce, etc.). A person would have to be trying to get a credit score of 488, that’s about as low as they go.

Greg’s points are dead on, I’d say the odds are better than 50-50 that this guy will be a problem for you, especially if dad moves out. If you should decide to move ahead, discuss with the father and determine how long the son needs to be there (transitioning?) and limit the lease time for the son (3-6 months?) and then its time to move on (you may want to review this with your attorney). One of my biggest red flags is a parent wanting to buy a home for his/her adult children, or co-signing the lease to get them in a place. Rarely ends well. There’s a reason they need parents ongoing enabling. Park owners have enough headaches to deal with, to me this seems like a potential self-inflicted wound waiting to happen. Good luck.