One of our residents, who owns his mobile home and pays lot rent, has taken a roommate who will be paying the resident rent. Our rules say “everyone staying over two weeks must be registered.” So, our manager issued an application to them and asked for a $25 fee to pull a background check on this new resident. The new guy went to see the manager and said he did not want to give out his SS# or pay the $25; yet would fill out the form and did admit to 5 yrs in jail for assault back in the 1990s and did provide a copy of his driver’s license. How should this be handled?
Update to my original post below: My background checker tells me you don’t need an SSN to do a background check, so you could start with just drivers license number & proceed from there.
Your original tenant is responsible for the financial obligation of paying the rent, so I don’t think you need to worry about the financial background of this guy – with him in there as a roommate you’re no worse off than you were before and probably better off in that regard.
If you wouldn’t allow him in the park as a renter with what he disclosed, you’ll have to get him out / forbid it. But I assume the background already disclosed doesn’t bother you enough to make him leave or you wouldn’t have asked the question.
In that case, the relevant question is whether what he admitted is the whole story. There is probably some risk that you could be later sued for not doing the proper background check on this guy if he pulled some awful crime in the neighborhood.
But there’s some cost of refusing to allow him in the park. Namely, you have to enforce your decision (by watching for and calling the police for his trespassing, or evicting the current tenant if he refuses to abide by your decision, for example). You could end up losing your existing tenant. That risk may be small, but it’s there. And enforcing your decision might be a headache.
Your risk tolerance might be different but in our park we would probably document the tenant’s failure to abide by the rules (no guests, etc), get it in writing that the roommate was not permitted without a background check, but not worry too much initially about the enforcement. If there’s no evidence the roommate is living there, it’s good enough for me.
But every time I (my manager) found evidence the roommate was living in the home, I’d send another notice and start fining the tenant for breaking the rules (your lease allows such fines, right?). If it gets ridiculous I would threaten eviction (and follow through if necessary).
I just want something to point to if something bad ever happened so we can legitimately say “this person was not allowed to live here, we were not permitting it, we did not ignore it, and we took action to prevent it when we found out.” But I am not going to put a lot of energy into trying to guess whether I’m being fooled.
We definitely insist on a background check. We also charge an additional $100/mo. For additional wear and tear and use of our water and sewer (which we provide at our cost to each home).