Great Tenant Marries a Felon

I have a policy where “Long Term” guests must go through a background check to make sure they don’t have a criminal history. I have denied acceptance into the park when they admit they have a record. In the past these applicants were always prospective roommates of an existing tenant.

Recently, one of my tenants got married. When my manager noticed that she now had two cars parked in her driveway and she would have to have her guest complete the application process, she acknowledged that she was recently married. Her guest completed the application and owned up to the fact that he served time for theft. He did four years and is on probation.

This lady has always been a model tenant. If she was looking to take him in as a roommate I would deny acceptance. But she married him and now if I say no, then I have to terminate her lease and ask her to move out.

Has anyone experienced this situation before and how did you handle it?

Thank you!!!

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Personally I don’t hound my tenants about long term guests and bringing in people not on the lease as long as those people aren’t causing any issues. Tenants are constantly breaking up/getting in new relationships, having family members move in with them, etc. You can keep track of it, but it’s a lot of effort for limited gain.

Basically: if someone is causing issues and is not on the lease, I immediately crack down on them, and let the resident on the lease know that they are in violation of their lease and will be also held responsible as well. If someone new is minding their own business, not bothering anyone, and paying rent on time though, I’ll put my efforts and energy into other items.

Just my two cents, your mileage may vary.

Great tenant, model tenant. These points are irrelevant as you are not screening your tenant and she will have zero control over the actions of another person.

Your policy, and for most of us, is very clear. You must either ask your tenant to leave/evict or remove the Criminal Record restriction from your standard screening process. She already knew that fact which is why she lied by not informing you of her marriage or his criminal record. You can not have it both ways when it comes to your responsibilities as a landlord. To accept this applicant and in the future deny any other applicants with criminal records would amount to discrimination. You would not win that fight which is why you are on here asking for others to support what is a obvious decision on your part. If you would not accept him as a tenant if they were not married you can not change your policies now. Suppose they were applying together for admittance to your community as new tenants, would you accept them. This is no different.

Being just out of prison and on probation is a clear decision in my opinion. You know what you need to do, either you have standards or you do not it is not acceptable to waver.

@Greg has a good system that works for him and is not complicated.

But as clarification felony probation lasts 10 years, which is not quite just out of prison. After 5 years someone statistically is unlikely to be a repeat offender and at-risk as much as the general population (e.g. they have been reformed).

Whether this should haunt them for the rest of their life or whether you believe there is some gray area to empathize is where your personal beliefs enter. I definitely agree with @Greg that you should be consistent with your decision so that if this were a new tenant instead of part of a good-tenant package you should take the same action.

Illinois Mobile Home Park Act… I don’t know how common it is to have something like this.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1241&ChapterID=21

(210 ILCS 115/13) (from Ch. 111 1/2, par. 723)
Sec. 13. A register shall be maintained by the manager of each mobile home park. Such register shall include the name and address of the owner of each mobile home and every occupant of such mobile home and the square feet of floor space contained in such mobile home and the date of entry of such mobile home into the park. The register shall be signed by the owner or occupant of the mobile home. Any person furnishing misinformation for purposes of registration shall be deemed guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. The registration records shall be neatly and securely maintained, and no registration records shall be destroyed until six years have elapsed following the date of registration. The register shall be available for inspection upon request by all law enforcement officers and by the Department.
(Source: P.A. 85-565.)

PMaerone

First you need to set your policies as the owner. For us, ANYONE who wishes to enter into the park as a long term tenant needs to be approved first - no excptions.

2nd - as an owner your duty is towards to the good of the park, all the other tenants and ultimately yourself.

3rd - I have had MANY great tenants and managers done in by bad relationships and family. My early mistakes as an owner was using the
same rationale you did and not cutting the cord immediately. Welcome to a business which is really not a real estate asset business but a people business.

Lastly, make sure your policies are aware of recent HUD standards on Criminal Persons :

Its your decision. But make it a policy you stick to.

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