Co-Applicant has a rent collection from 6/22. Would you let them in?

A guy and his girlfriend in their 20s applied, We do background checks. The guy is clean. The girl is also clean except for an open collections for $3900 for unpaid rent from last year. They both work and make good money. Both are ex-Army. Does a recent collections for unpaid rent for a co-applicant disqualify them for you? Would you let them in?

Also they are buying a trailer for $15k cash that we renovated. I spent $14k fixing it up. We discounted the $18k price (21st Mortgage) because of a cash purchase and I want to fill the lot. Only thing is we don’t want them to pull it out of the park. We will ask them to sign an agreement saying they won’t move it fo at least 5 years (although I don’t know if I could actually stop them). Have other owners had problems with people buying and pulling out homes? Any ideas there?

I’d get the story on why they didn’t pay rent, but in general that’s a huge red flag and likely to be repeated.
The agreement is a good idea, so is making sure it’s hard to move (tongue/axles off, decks built and attached, can put plants in front — anything to make it more permanent). As an added bonus these things make the home look great too!

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It seemes a little late to be establishing screening standards after you have screened.
Non payment of rent should be your number one rejection standard. They are not, as you state, “clean”. Non payment of rent is by far the most disrespectful act a tenant can inflict on a landlord regardless of the reason and will be repeated. They would never pass my standards.


Greg is 100% correct. Say no.


I just talked to the couple and they claim to to hearing about this for the first time. They are both ex-Army and said the date coincides with her release from the Army. They said she filed a form called a DD214 which was supposed to “terminate her lease without having to pay any extra or pay the rest of the lease out”. Then they sent me her DD214 which looks real enough.

Does anyone know anything about the Army. I googled form DD214 and it says the form can “Release a soldier from a lease” under certain circumstances. It does seems odd that they both have (otherwise) spotless records but she has this. They both made $3k a month and are buying one of my renovated units for $15k cash.

My current screening standards are that I won’t ever take someone with an eviction. And I take a close look at criminal records.

The explination put forward by a applicant does not matter, they are very likley fully aware of the collections. Until they clear their records they should not be approved. Bottom line is it is their problem, not yours, and will follow them when applying to rent from any landlord.
I do not trust or believe anything any applicant says that is contrary to the facts I gather during screening.
Turn it back on them, reject their application and don’t waste any additional time on them.


She is right. I don’t know about other states, but here…you cannot evict someone in the military if they have orders to leave. That is one reason why we incorporated the question “Are you in the military?” in our applications.

This is probably a super unpopular take, but I’d do it if they’ll sign a 5 yr lease (just don’t write a 5 yr lease with no rent bumps for yourself)! One of my partners is ex-military and has told me in the past that there is a way to contact their previous CO (commanding officer) if they act up or as a reference - you can also ask them for the COs info; i have not had to try this yet though. The $3900 collection is odd but i will admit, I’ve had genuinely good tenants have previous landlord collections they didn’t know about.

The bottom line is that they have a tremendous amount of skin in the game at 15k. In our experience, whether an rto or outright home purchase, people who have 10k+ in it keep their act together. Here in Charlotte MSA, NC people normally make the right decsion when it comes to falling in line or blowing 15k to tear their house down, move it, and set it back up.

Don’t shortchange yourself on the amount of leverage you have over people who own their own homes but don’t want to act right. For 99% of these people who own their home, having to move it means they’re homeless because they can’t afford to. That’s just reality.


Let’s get our terms right: a DD214 is the standard US military document an individual receives when they leave a branch of the service. It shows their dates of service, and, most pertinent for you, their discharge status. If the individual separates “from service under honorable conditions” they must be released from a lease without penalty (just as they would be if they received a “permanent change of station” aka a transfer.)

If your applicant can show she provided her former landlord with her DD214 —which she likely did — then she should be acceptable under your stated requirements.

Please be cautious about accepting legal advice from strangers on the internet. A quick call to your lawyer is well worth not breaking the law and discriminating against an ex-Army applicant.

Furthermore the attitude here seems to ignore the fact that it’s certainly possible the woman is telling the truth and the former landlord (like you — let’s be blunt) made an error.

Ref: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA), 50 USC App § 535

If the applicant is of value to a landlord it is the applicants responsible to prove they do not have a open collections on their record. It is not the landlords responsibility to put any effort into clearing their record. Tell them to reapply when they have proof of a clear record.