Rental history borked, what now?
June 27, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe

If a landlord/management company receives an application for an apartment, do they have any way of sussing out omitted information about the applicant's rental history?

I know it is ethically dubious to omit information in this manner, but I'm asking for a friend who is completely not at fault for her marred rental history.

In short, my good friend J's roommate screwed up bad: four times in the last year he was late with the rent. Late enough that he received a notice that basically said: pay the rent in person within 72 hours or vacate the premises. Each time he paid, but J did not know this had happened. J feels stupid for trusting him with the rent, but she was out of town for a few months, he's got some problems with ignoring financial stuff, blah blah blah. How she arrived at this moment in time doesn't really matter right now. She is now looking for a new place to live. Because her name is also on the lease with crappy roommate's, she is technically culpable. She has just been refused an apartment based on a history of late rental payments.

Is it advisable to leave a hole in her rental history when filling out applications (with the explanation that she was living out-of-state, which is at least partially true)? If she does so, will the potential lessor have any way of knowing her rental history? If this is not advisable, what recourse does she have?

Any advice is much appreciated.
posted by Specklet to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There is no way they will know if that notices were issued unless they physically call to verify tenancy with that landlord particular landlord AND the old landlord mentions it. That's a lot of if's.

Yes. That address will show up on the credit check. Do not omit!

Your friend could head this off at the pass by telling new landlord that roommate at x address frequently was late with the rent and that landlord should verify her solo perfect rental history with her additional past landlords.

Happens all the time. Landlord's understand. No big deal.
posted by jbenben at 6:33 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes, this stuff is generally pretty easy for screening companies to find out. The credit bureaus know all your addresses and the screening companies will send rental references to those properties. I had a former tenant put down a friend's name as the landlord of a totally made up apartment. The screening companies have the credit bureaus and Google soit wasn't too hard to find out that 123 Main isn't the Sunnybrook Apts managed by "Susan" but Hellhole Manor managed by me.

I think the best thing to do is come clean, say that Landlord X will report 72 hour notices but that they are due to a former roommate who is not applying. You may find a sympathetic landlord. Lying on your application (or what we call "information discrepancy" is grounds for denial under our criteria.

(on preview, I see that jbenben says the same thing.)
posted by vespabelle at 6:35 PM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: I think it depends on what kind of services the landlord is using. I've found most leasing companies/landlords are understanding if you're up-front about your checkered history. I went through foreclosure and my credit history is a mess because of it, but every landlord/leasing company I explained this to was totally understanding.
posted by xingcat at 6:35 PM on June 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. That totally makes sense.
posted by Specklet at 8:52 AM on June 28, 2011

I'm a landlord and if someone explained this up front and their story checked out I wouldn't hold it against them. I would still need them to qualify (income level, credit score, etc) for the property on their own merits though.
posted by dgran at 11:17 AM on June 28, 2011

I'm a landlord and I do call previous landlords. Also, when I'm called by another landlord, I tell them everything. That said, I feel the same way about it is dgran. If I decided to run a credit check and found an omission it'd be a hell no to that tenant. So, what people have said.
posted by cmoj at 4:57 PM on June 28, 2011

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