New applicant with Domestic Violence conviction

There is an applicant that came into meet with our manager. The manager said he was a little fishy and answered “no” to felony on the app, but when the manager told him we do a background check, the applicant changed his answer. Basically after the check, he had 3 domestic violence charges and went to prison for almost 3 years on the 3rd one. I’m leaning towards no to letting him move in, but he’s willing to actually buy this home that we more than likely were going to tear down and have to go out and purchase and bring in a new one to sell. Still leaning no, but kind of on the fence. This is the first violent felon we have had some in to apply, so I’m not really sure how others feel about allowing felons into their parks.

Thanks for the help

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Does he have a job? How long has he held it? Does he have the money to make the needed repairs to the house? Does he have any references from the landlord where he is living now? Those are more important then his criminal past, especially when it was a domestic violence record. Many of our customers have behavioral problems regarding their spouses – he beats her and she beats him (particularly when there’s alcohol involved). That doesn’t mean that he’ll necessarily bother any neighbors (unless he’s dating one). Of course, a big problem with people who have been in prison is the friends they made there who come to visit.

I could go either way on this one, but I’d get the answers to the questions stated above, and think about it before deciding.

Thanks Frank. He has had a job for the last year and lived with his new spouse (and her children) at her parents house for a year plus. He provided a lot of references so you are making me a little bit more comfortable with maybe giving him a chance. He is paying cash for the home and both have income coming in.

Thanks,

Nicki

He sounds like a better risk than probably half of your tenants, right? Sometimes people who screw up learn from their mistakes and are more careful than the average person in not letting it happen again – it’s a big time wake up call. One of our best managers served 10 years for drug possession. The comic Tim Allen was in prison for the same thing for a few years. So you can’t just write someone off for going to jail – you have to weigh in the concept of redemption.

my policy is very straightforward…no felons, no violent offenders

That way I do not have to philosophise about whether grand theft from a little old lady is worst than an assault or whether someone beating up his mother is worse than someone who beats his neighbor, or whether someone who sells drugs is worse than someone uses drugs or who committed vehicular homicide

sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and say what you find acceptable in your community and what you do not. Who do you watnt in your life and the life of your tenants who are trusting you to operate a community based on more than just your profit.

Otherwise you can spend a lot of time debating your values

I let the judges sort them out for me.

I do not allow anyone into my community that has a criminal record and evict any tenant that is convicted of any crime.

As a landlord I will not make decissions which will force my residents to live with criminals in their community.

NO…NO…and NO! My uncle is a felon who served out and I wouldn’t rent to him so…NO! I’m just saying

Frank brings up an interesting point. I agree with him. These people are not going to be clean with a credit score of 750 in most cases. Otherwise, they’d probably rent or buy a higher quality place. I like to act just like Mr. Banker when screening. Ask for last 2 paystubs or W-2 statement. Call their work and verify employment. The REAL asset is the tenant’s JOB and ability to pay rent, not the real estate. My standards are this:

  1. Not a convict on the run

  2. Provides last 2 paystubs or W-2

  3. Shows us a valid Photo ID

  4. Shows up on time for the showing or calls ahead to reschedule

  5. Pays application fee and authorizes background check

  6. Pays downpayment and 1st month’s lot rent when required

  7. If they lie about stuff, charge double the normal downpayment

These standards promote the applicant validating themselves rather relying completely on the background check. I’ve had success with taking these people that everyone else has turned down. They are usually thankful for a roof over their head that no one else would provide. If they fail any of the tests, they are denied. Most do not think they are being tested, but they are.

Here’s a couple of more thoughts. When we write insurance on truck drivers, we consider a DUI on a Saturday night in their own car (off work, different environment, weekend only drinker) to be a better thing than one on a Tuesday night in a work vehicle (work day - alcoholic, constant drinker). The same concept applies somewhat to violent offenders. If the risk is primarily to family members, vs other park tenants, than the risk to the park is reduced because the family member would face the same risk despite where they lived with the batteror. The biggest worry with a tenant with a violent history is that they will injure / batter another tenant. Then when the batteree sues the batterer, and finds out he has no money or insurance, then the batteree will sue the park owner seeking damages because the park owner allowed someone with a known violent past to live next to them. This is evidence of negligent operations. This is also why as an insurer, we consider allowing someone with a history of felony level violence against non-family to be worse than one involving family only. Ideally, neither are in your park, and you own a five star, retiree only, 100% occupied property with a long waiting list to get in.

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