Tenant identity theft issue on lease

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NYGiantsFan
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Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by NYGiantsFan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:49 am

As a landlord, I had requested SSN, Credit reports from tenants (mother & daughter).
Lease had both mother and daughter's names and mother sent lease back with both signatures.
I am dealing with rent delinquency and daughter is indicating that it is not her signature on the lease document. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Possible next step is to go to court. Will daughter be liable for outstanding rent (and possible credit impact)?
Thanks for your input.

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F150HD
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by F150HD » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:58 am

a bit confusing, so they are already tenants? as you said they just sent back the lease (?)...but then you said there is rent delinquency which means they are already renting from you?

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dm200
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:02 am

NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:49 am
As a landlord, I had requested SSN, Credit reports from tenants (mother & daughter).
Lease had both mother and daughter's names and mother sent lease back with both signatures.
I am dealing with rent delinquency and daughter is indicating that it is not her signature on the lease document. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Possible next step is to go to court. Will daughter be liable for outstanding rent (and possible credit impact)?
Thanks for your input.
I assume the mother is living in the house/apartment.

How did you send the lease to the daughter? If you just sent it to the mother, then you have no way of knowing whether the daughter signed it or not. With 20/20 hindsight - notarized signature would have been a good idea. It would be common for a mother to know details about daughter, including SSN.

My (non-lawyer) guess is that you will have great difficulty showing that the daughter signed. I might, then, look at charging the mother with identity theft fraud. What, then, if the mother says daughter signed it?

Financially, I suspect you would be much better off if you can get the rent paid without going to court.

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NYGiantsFan
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by NYGiantsFan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:03 am

F150HD wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:58 am
a bit confusing, so they are already tenants? as you said they just sent back the lease (?)...but then you said there is rent delinquency which means they are already renting from you?
Yes. They are renting from me and has past due rent.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:04 am

F150HD wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:58 am
a bit confusing, so they are already tenants? as you said they just sent back the lease (?)...but then you said there is rent delinquency which means they are already renting from you?
To me, sounds like the mother is already the tenant - and daughters signature necessary because of the less than sufficient credit worthiness of the mother.

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NYGiantsFan
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by NYGiantsFan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:05 am

dm200 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:02 am
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:49 am
As a landlord, I had requested SSN, Credit reports from tenants (mother & daughter).
Lease had both mother and daughter's names and mother sent lease back with both signatures.
I am dealing with rent delinquency and daughter is indicating that it is not her signature on the lease document. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Possible next step is to go to court. Will daughter be liable for outstanding rent (and possible credit impact)?
Thanks for your input.
I assume the mother is living in the house/apartment.

How did you send the lease to the daughter? If you just sent it to the mother, then you have no way of knowing whether the daughter signed it or not. With 20/20 hindsight - notarized signature would have been a good idea. It would be common for a mother to know details about daughter, including SSN.

My (non-lawyer) guess is that you will have great difficulty showing that the daughter signed. I might, then, look at charging the mother with identity theft fraud. What, then, if the mother says daughter signed it?

Financially, I suspect you would be much better off if you can get the rent paid without going to court.
Both mother and daughter are living in the house. I dealt with mother primarily during the lease process.

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NYGiantsFan
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by NYGiantsFan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:06 am

dm200 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:04 am
F150HD wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:58 am
a bit confusing, so they are already tenants? as you said they just sent back the lease (?)...but then you said there is rent delinquency which means they are already renting from you?
To me, sounds like the mother is already the tenant - and daughters signature necessary because of the less than sufficient credit worthiness of the mother.
You are right. Mother's credit is not good. Due to that, she added daughter in the lease (daughter is also living in the same house).

HomeStretch
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by HomeStretch » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:09 am

It may or may not be the daughter’s signature but she is benefiting from living there. Perhaps consider an attorney consultation to understand your collection and eviction options.

renue74
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by renue74 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am

In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.

With petty stuff like this, it's best just to keep moving forward.

You should move forward with eviction of the tenant(s) and get them out of there as soon as possible to reduce your vacancy expense.

I've found that any time I get to a point of argument or friction with a tenant, it's best to move forward and part ways. Some of these folks are "professional tenants," and have played the game much more often than you.

If you live in a state that is not landlord friendly, you should do "cash for keys," and tell them you'll give them $100 if they leave immediately and leave the property in good standing.

My state is landlord friendly, I can evict people within a 3 week window. The process is very easy.

I heard an interesting segment on NPR over the weekend. I think it was "On The Media." The segment was "The Scarlet E" and discussed evictions. The over arching feeling from the segment was that landlords are difficult and won't deal with tenants on a social level to work things out. They showcased both large and small landlords. It's an interesting segment....you should listen.

In my POV, I've only had to evict 1 person in 7 years of doing this....but I have had people leave early from their leases and string me along for payment. 99% of the "friction" between me and a tenant has been tenant-causing.

The interesting thing is if you make a comparison with other industries. If I rent a house and don't pay because of circumstances....should I get to live there? If I buy a $80K Tesla and don't make payments, should I get to keep the car? On a more simple basis, if I go to the meat market and get a porterhouse steak that costs $45, but I only have $15 and try to tell the meat market I can only pay $15, should the meat market give me the steak?

Sorry...I got on my soapbox this AM.
Last edited by renue74 on Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

stan1
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by stan1 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:21 am

I would proceed to eviction under your state and maybe municipality laws and processes. Most important is getting these tenants out and a better tenant in. You'll either need to become expert in eviction law or hire an attorney who is. The identity theft issue may be a ruse to drag out the eviction process which would enable them to stay in the unit longer without paying you rent. It may be better financially for you to focus on getting them out as fast as possible than to try to collect back rent (or decouple the two proceedings, depending upon what the law is in your location).

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Iridium » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:52 am

Unfortunately, it sounds like you got scammed. They can just keep taking hits on the mother's credit while continuing to find apartments to rent with the daughter 'co-signing' and getting to live rent free for a few months at a time.

I am not a landlord, but it sounds like proceeding on the simplest possible path for eviction is the best path forward until they are out of there: no rent = eviction.

If you really want to make life awkward for them, I will note that creditors usually require a police report before treating a debt as identity theft. Unfortunately, those creditors also have armies of lawyers so know how to do everything exactly by the book. I suppose you could decide how badly you want to punish them for being grifters. The problem is that there will almost certainly be no reward for you at the end, and these folks are likely to be practically professionals at how to abuse legal loopholes to make your life miserable. I certainly wouldn't want to take any action without extensive consultation with lawyers.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:04 pm

NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:49 am
As a landlord, I had requested SSN, Credit reports from tenants (mother & daughter).
Lease had both mother and daughter's names and mother sent lease back with both signatures.
I am dealing with rent delinquency and daughter is indicating that it is not her signature on the lease document. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Possible next step is to go to court. Will daughter be liable for outstanding rent (and possible credit impact)?
Thanks for your input.
Whether mother signed for daughter is a legal matter and she can file a fraud claim.
Your issue is simple, they are not paying the rent. Your lease should hold them both liable- together and severed.
Eviction is your remedy.
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by NYGiantsFan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm

renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.

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8foot7
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:23 pm

WhyNotUs wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:04 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:49 am
As a landlord, I had requested SSN, Credit reports from tenants (mother & daughter).
Lease had both mother and daughter's names and mother sent lease back with both signatures.
I am dealing with rent delinquency and daughter is indicating that it is not her signature on the lease document. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Possible next step is to go to court. Will daughter be liable for outstanding rent (and possible credit impact)?
Thanks for your input.
Whether mother signed for daughter is a legal matter and she can file a fraud claim.
Your issue is simple, they are not paying the rent. Your lease should hold them both liable- together and severed.
Eviction is your remedy.
I agree they should be evicted but if the mother forged the daughters sig then they are not liable together and severed.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:54 pm

Others may give opinions, but - even if the mother's credit worthiness was fine - I would insist that all adult residents sign the lease. There are many more issues to a lease than being responsible for the rent.

BUT - even if she did not sign the lease, I suppose the daughter might want to take into consideration that she will soon need to find a place to live.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:03 pm

NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
It happens. You've done well to only have this one issue. I've had people lie on an application, file for disability and stop paying rent thinking I would feel sorry for them and wait for the disability decision. Scammers usually pull this stuff within the first three months of moving in.

Sorry but you'll need to start eviction proceedings immediately. Daughter's credit will now take a hit if the eviction goes to court regardless if she signed the lease since you need to evict EVERYONE in the apartment.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by FelixTheCat » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:12 pm

NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:49 am
Will daughter be liable for outstanding rent (and possible credit impact)?
I would go to court stating the signed document is valid for both mother and daughter. Let the daughter explain to the judge about her signature. The judge will determine if the daughter's signature is valid or what to do for identity theft.
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm

NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.

In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.

As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.

As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.

j
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anakinskywalker
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by anakinskywalker » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:45 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.

In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.

As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.

As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.

j
Could you shed some light on the benefits of putting only one person on lease?

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:01 pm

anakinskywalker wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:45 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.

In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.

As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.

As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.

j
Could you shed some light on the benefits of putting only one person on lease?
1 Avoids future conflict.
2 You only deal with 1 person.
3 You only evict 1, not a bundle.
4 Funding is easier vs someone paid their share, the other didn't. Only 1 handles the money and sends it in.
5 Of course, in a multiple occupant, find the one that is responsible and takes responsibility.
6 You only have to take one person to court.
7 You only have to call the police for 1 person
8 When things go wrong, 1 person is liable, for everything.
9. Etc.

There is some thought that the more folks on a lease then that ensures full payment of rents. That is true, too. But, in the long run, having had a few rentals, and a few thousand tenants, I have found a single lessee to have more advantages.

I could give a number of real life tangible examples of the above but that would hijack the thread.
j
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Iridium
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Iridium » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:01 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
...
All of this is very state dependent though and OP never gave us the state. From the timelines of the eviction process to how easy/possible it is non-renew leases without showing cause will all influence the optimal lease length and approach.

As best I can tell, OP is not concerned about the eviction process (every jurisdiction is eventually going to let you kick out a tenant for not paying rent) and whether the daughter is on the lease as a tenant or is a long term guest, her right to occupy the property ends when the eviction goes through. The issue is that OP is now unlikely to ever recover the back rent, nor the legal expenses (which could end up being quite high if these folks use every legal avenue available to them to fight the eviction). OP can force the mother's credit further into the garbage, but has to tread extremely carefully before pursuing the daughter. She claims that she is the victim of identity theft and therefore never agreed to the lease that created the liability. OP could get the police involved to pursue the forgery claim, but even if they are interested enough to pursue it, if the end result of the investigation is: the daughter probably did not sign the lease, but it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the mother forged the signature, then the mother doesn't go to jail and OP doesn't get paid.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:04 pm

Iridium wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:01 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
...
All of this is very state dependent though and OP never gave us the state. From the timelines of the eviction process to how easy/possible it is non-renew leases without showing cause will all influence the optimal lease length and approach.

As best I can tell, OP is not concerned about the eviction process (every jurisdiction is eventually going to let you kick out a tenant for not paying rent) and whether the daughter is on the lease as a tenant or is a long term guest, her right to occupy the property ends when the eviction goes through. The issue is that OP is now unlikely to ever recover the back rent, nor the legal expenses (which could end up being quite high if these folks use every legal avenue available to them to fight the eviction). OP can force the mother's credit further into the garbage, but has to tread extremely carefully before pursuing the daughter. She claims that she is the victim of identity theft and therefore never agreed to the lease that created the liability. OP could get the police involved to pursue the forgery claim, but even if they are interested enough to pursue it, if the end result of the investigation is: the daughter probably did not sign the lease, but it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the mother forged the signature, then the mother doesn't go to jail and OP doesn't get paid.
Yes. Absolutely true.
Good points.

It's sometimes best to focus on getting the unit back ASAP regardless of anything else.
j
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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likegarden
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by likegarden » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:07 pm

We had a thread here once where a lady in California was renting and then not paying. It was found that counties there were not sharing eviction notices, such that she could do this not paying rent in one county after the other.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Bongleur » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:55 am

The daughter has stated that she is NOT your tenant.
So she is not covered under the tenancy protections for eviction procedures
Other than the lease stating how long a guest can stay, she is trespassing.
You might be able to force her off the property easier than the tenant (mother).
So investigate that leverage.
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NYGiantsFan
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by NYGiantsFan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:43 am

Iridium wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:01 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
...
All of this is very state dependent though and OP never gave us the state. From the timelines of the eviction process to how easy/possible it is non-renew leases without showing cause will all influence the optimal lease length and approach.
State is NJ. Thanks

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dm200
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by dm200 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:00 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:01 pm
anakinskywalker wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:45 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.
In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.
As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.
As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.
j
Could you shed some light on the benefits of putting only one person on lease?
1 Avoids future conflict.
2 You only deal with 1 person.
3 You only evict 1, not a bundle.
4 Funding is easier vs someone paid their share, the other didn't. Only 1 handles the money and sends it in.
5 Of course, in a multiple occupant, find the one that is responsible and takes responsibility.
6 You only have to take one person to court.
7 You only have to call the police for 1 person
8 When things go wrong, 1 person is liable, for everything.
9. Etc.
There is some thought that the more folks on a lease then that ensures full payment of rents. That is true, too. But, in the long run, having had a few rentals, and a few thousand tenants, I have found a single lessee to have more advantages.
I could give a number of real life tangible examples of the above but that would hijack the thread.
j
Never been a landlord, but a tenant with several other folks several times. Not having all residents on the lease would seem to be a potential problem, though. Without having everyone on the lease, you have residents without any contractual relationship or responsibility.

Back when, as a single person, I shared houses with 2-3 others, they were on the lease, BUT my agreement with the landlord was that I was the primary tenant. I collected the share of rent and utilities from all the others and then I wrote one rent check, paid the utilities, etc. I also collected the other tenant's security deposit. Yes - I certainly agree, though, with having one "primary" tenant to deal with. Also, as the "primary" tenant, I got the bedroom of my choice.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:11 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:00 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:01 pm
anakinskywalker wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:45 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm

Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.
In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.
As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.
As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.
j
Could you shed some light on the benefits of putting only one person on lease?
1 Avoids future conflict.
2 You only deal with 1 person.
3 You only evict 1, not a bundle.
4 Funding is easier vs someone paid their share, the other didn't. Only 1 handles the money and sends it in.
5 Of course, in a multiple occupant, find the one that is responsible and takes responsibility.
6 You only have to take one person to court.
7 You only have to call the police for 1 person
8 When things go wrong, 1 person is liable, for everything.
9. Etc.
There is some thought that the more folks on a lease then that ensures full payment of rents. That is true, too. But, in the long run, having had a few rentals, and a few thousand tenants, I have found a single lessee to have more advantages.
I could give a number of real life tangible examples of the above but that would hijack the thread.
j
Never been a landlord, but a tenant with several other folks several times. Not having all residents on the lease would seem to be a potential problem, though. Without having everyone on the lease, you have residents without any contractual relationship or responsibility.

Back when, as a single person, I shared houses with 2-3 others, they were on the lease, BUT my agreement with the landlord was that I was the primary tenant. I collected the share of rent and utilities from all the others and then I wrote one rent check, paid the utilities, etc. I also collected the other tenant's security deposit. Yes - I certainly agree, though, with having one "primary" tenant to deal with. Also, as the "primary" tenant, I got the bedroom of my choice.
Yes.
Good points.
It looks like you had a great arrangement.
And addendum to the lease agreement can be structured like this. I had a similar addendum and used it that way. Authorized residents were on it, and so forth. Every loophole was closed.
I worked with several law firms to customize what was originally a standard National Realtor's Association tenant lease agreement, and that lease in turn evolved over the many decades to conform to changing codes, laws, and also resultant loopholes. For the landlord, the lease agreement is about the only significantly useful card to play when the SHF. So, it pays to have a good solid legal one that works in the area and region and state, etc, where it is used.

Thanks for the great input.
j
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dm200
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by dm200 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:49 am

We had an "experience" in this house sharing where not having all the folks on the lease was a "problem". One young man that was sharing the house, and paid regularly and was a good guy - "disappeared" - and we did not see him for a while. We did not have things like emergency contacts, etc.

Finally, after a few days, one of his friends came by the house and informed us that he had died in an auto crash. Very, very sad situation.

After that, we always got more information.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by dm200 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:53 am

Yes.
Good points.
It looks like you had a great arrangement.
And addendum to the lease agreement can be structured like this. I had a similar addendum and used it that way. Authorized residents were on it, and so forth. Every loophole was closed.
I worked with several law firms to customize what was originally a standard National Realtor's Association tenant lease agreement, and that lease in turn evolved over the many decades to conform to changing codes, laws, and also resultant loopholes. For the landlord, the lease agreement is about the only significantly useful card to play when the SHF. So, it pays to have a good solid legal one that works in the area and region and state, etc, where it is used.

Thanks for the great input.
For a landlord, such shared rental situations can be very beneficial. The actual tenants can change over time - perhaps all of them staggered over months or years - and the house is not vacant at all during such a period. Of course, there is always the risk of a "rouge" tenant - so caution is advised. In one such experience, we did have one - and it was very scary for several reasons. Ended up ok, though.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by PeterParker » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:42 pm

My dad's a landlord and I rent a lot from old grizzled landlords.

You made a few obvious errors.

1. You should hold out for good credit. 650+ minimum. Yes people get desperate and your realtor (who is hungry for 1st month's rent cash) will tell you to hurry up and rent already, EVERYONE here has terrible credit! And other lies. Sounds like you believed them, sadly. Otherwise you will be holding the bag like you are now. Bad credit = bills historically are not paid. Heed that warning.

2. Watch the lease signed in person. Weird scam they pulled, but yeah.

3. 12 month leases are fine. Honestly landlord's usually favor longer leases (like 24 month) as they lock in good tenants. A bad tenant? Lease length does not matter. If they're going to squat and not pay, the lease terms are absolutely irrelevant to them. Keep it at 12, don't listen to the 6 month advice.

The idea that evicting a tenant who is not paying is easier than one who's "lease lapsed" is irrelevant. Both parties can squat there until the sheriff gets a judge to agree to toss them out. In both cases, non-payment constitutes a broken lease. 12 month lease is to retain good tenants.

Also the one-party thing is not a great idea. 2 friends or boyfriend-girlfriend do NOT want one person only liable, nor do you, honestly.

Lessons learned. Now it's expensive lawyer and eviction time.

rantk81
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by rantk81 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:21 pm

Obviously, start the notice/eviction process immediately.

If you want, pursue both of them for the deficit. If the daughter claims it isn't her signature, then it is up to the daughter to file a police report against her mother for the fraudulent signature. Until then, assume and act as if the daughter signed.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by renue74 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:04 pm

PeterParker wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:42 pm
My dad's a landlord and I rent a lot from old grizzled landlords.

You made a few obvious errors.

1. You should hold out for good credit. 650+ minimum. Yes people get desperate and your realtor (who is hungry for 1st month's rent cash) will tell you to hurry up and rent already, EVERYONE here has terrible credit! And other lies. Sounds like you believed them, sadly. Otherwise you will be holding the bag like you are now. Bad credit = bills historically are not paid. Heed that warning.

2. Watch the lease signed in person. Weird scam they pulled, but yeah.

3. 12 month leases are fine. Honestly landlord's usually favor longer leases (like 24 month) as they lock in good tenants. A bad tenant? Lease length does not matter. If they're going to squat and not pay, the lease terms are absolutely irrelevant to them. Keep it at 12, don't listen to the 6 month advice.

The idea that evicting a tenant who is not paying is easier than one who's "lease lapsed" is irrelevant. Both parties can squat there until the sheriff gets a judge to agree to toss them out. In both cases, non-payment constitutes a broken lease. 12 month lease is to retain good tenants.

Also the one-party thing is not a great idea. 2 friends or boyfriend-girlfriend do NOT want one person only liable, nor do you, honestly.

Lessons learned. Now it's expensive lawyer and eviction time.
I feel bad for landlords in difficult to evict states. The process in my state literally takes 3 weeks and can be handled by the landlord easily.

1.) Tenant doesn't pay by the 6th of the month. Notice is given in the lease that they will receive NO written notice of late payment.
2.) On the 6th, the landlord can start eviction without written notice to tenant.
3.) Landlord goes down to magistrate's office and files 1st eviction rule. Cost $40.
4.) Constable/police deliver eviction papers within 7 days. Hand delivered.
5.) Tenant has 10 days to respond and ask for judge and trial hearing.
6.) 99% of the time tenant doesn't do this.
7.) After 10 days are up, landlord goes back down and files 2nd rule of ejectment. Cost $10
8.) Constable goes out and put eviction paper on front door. Landlord then calls Constable after 48 hours and sets up a "set out" day/time.
9.) Constable rolls up to property on set out date/time and landlord is responsible for throwing furniture to street. Constable tells landlord exactly what "needs" to be disposed of....usually sofa and a couple big pieces.

99% of the time...before set out occurs, the tenant has left the property.

All of the above usually occurs within 3-4 weeks.

Our state is landlord friendly and our magistrate is by the book. The process works.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by PeterParker » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:16 pm

Yeah obviously the advice is highly dependent on jurisdiction.

Still, even in a landlord friendly state, do you want to be going down to file paperwork, talking to constables, and still out for 3 weeks of rent?
Not to mention if it's just some scumbag you're rented your unit to ... who knows what they'll do if you evict. I've heard stories. They might trash the place, take a dump in the oven, etc. Good luck getting a dime outta of them, it's like blood from a stone.

Landlord advice is the same as small business advice.
Set up basic standards and stick to your guns, slow to hire, quick to fire.

If you're only getting the most desperate credit-trashed people (btw every unit gets these, because the people are desperate sadly). I mean -- I believe in social safety nets and welfare, but it's not up to you as an individual landlord to be a charity case. Unless you want to be, but then be clear up front you don't expect monthly payment.

Let them go. Wait for good-credit people. Not getting any? You either picked a real slum unit to rent out in a seedy neighborhood .... or ... you simply priced it wrong so only desperate people with no intention of paying beyond the first month maybe are interested.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by N1CKV » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:28 pm

I am not a landlord or a tenant or an attorney...

I would proceed against both of them.
If the daughter wishes to be removed she needs to file and follow through with identity theft charges against her mother to the local prosecutor. She can use those charges in a court of law to help prove that she indeed is not an actual party to the lease contract. I would send that in a certified letter to the daughter.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by JGoneRiding » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:40 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.

In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.

As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.

As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.

j
I don't know what state you live in but for most this is bad advice. You are required to evict all adults. It's a freaking pain to get non lease tenants out! It's much better to have every adult sign the lease and then proceed with legal eviction against all. The OP doesn't actually care which signed the lease, just notify legally by posting to door (i take a pic) a legal 3 day pay up or move out notice. Then contact the lawyer on day 5. They will both get a a scarlet "e" . The issue of paying you and going after them for judgment is totally seperate. Only then would which signed the lease matter. As someone else said you don't care let her explain it to the judge.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:00 pm

JGoneRiding wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:40 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.

In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.

As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.

As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.

j
I don't know what state you live in but for most this is bad advice. You are required to evict all adults. It's a freaking pain to get non lease tenants out! It's much better to have every adult sign the lease and then proceed with legal eviction against all. The OP doesn't actually care which signed the lease, just notify legally by posting to door (i take a pic) a legal 3 day pay up or move out notice. Then contact the lawyer on day 5. They will both get a a scarlet "e" . The issue of paying you and going after them for judgment is totally seperate. Only then would which signed the lease matter. As someone else said you don't care let her explain it to the judge.
Good points.
Yes.
There are so many ways to do these things.
That sounds like a good one. :D

Thanks for posting.
j :happy
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CurlyDave
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:20 am

JGoneRiding wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:40 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:17 pm
NYGiantsFan wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:34 pm
renue74 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:20 am
In my state, the standard lease document has a place for tenant signature and a witness signature. I'm assuming your lease does not have that.
Lesson learned here. I have been renting out for about 9 years and first time, I have seen this type of issue. In future, I plan to ask for copy of driver license as well as witness signature to avoid this scenario. I may consider asking to have it notarized to be on the safe side.
Keep your leases short.
For example: 6 months lease to move in and thereafter auto rollover/renew to mo to mo with no other lease available. Tenants like it because they don't have to worry about breaking a lease. (tenants break leases all the time and move anyway so this favors them not the landlord). In this way, you are 30-45 days from solving any problem simply by "notice for non renewal of lease" and "move out within "X" days thereafter". Time is depending on your local landlord tenant code. Do not rent initially mo to mo as you will get a more transient tenant. Just shorten the initial then mo to mo thereafter.

In this case, there's a 5 day notice for non payment of rent (assume you sent that out and/or posted on the door) , then notice to move out. If they don't move and rent is still not paid then you have to go thru the evict process.

As far as dual signatures and dual lessees. Don't. Rent to one person. Even if it's husband and wife. Whoever is earning income and paying rent. Even if it's 3 roomates. Still. Only put one person on a lease.

As to the existing problem. It doesn't matter that the daughter says she's not on the lease and not her signature. Rent is not paid so rent is not paid. Everyone leaves.

j
I don't know what state you live in but for most this is bad advice. You are required to evict all adults. It's a freaking pain to get non lease tenants out! It's much better to have every adult sign the lease and then proceed with legal eviction against all. The OP doesn't actually care which signed the lease, just notify legally by posting to door (i take a pic) a legal 3 day pay up or move out notice. Then contact the lawyer on day 5. They will both get a a scarlet "e" . The issue of paying you and going after them for judgment is totally seperate. Only then would which signed the lease matter. As someone else said you don't care let her explain it to the judge.
In some states it is even worse than you think for tenants who have not signed a lease.

They get squatter's rights and are much harder to deal with than legitimate tenants. I can terminate a tenant for not following the provisions of the lease. A squatter does not have that lease, so he can violate rules which would be cause to remove other tenants and not be evicted. He can set up a tailgate party in my parking lot with booze, marijuana and exotic dancers and I can't do anything about it.

Far better to have a lease on everyone. I go month-to month from the start. And a limit of 5 days on houseguests without management approval. If they have a permanent address somewhere else, they can stay longer, if not, they are homeless and can not squat in my units.

travellight
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by travellight » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:27 am

PeterParker wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:42 pm
My dad's a landlord and I rent a lot from old grizzled landlords.

You made a few obvious errors.

1. You should hold out for good credit. 650+ minimum. Yes people get desperate and your realtor (who is hungry for 1st month's rent cash) will tell you to hurry up and rent already, EVERYONE here has terrible credit! And other lies. Sounds like you believed them, sadly. Otherwise you will be holding the bag like you are now. Bad credit = bills historically are not paid. Heed that warning.

2. Watch the lease signed in person. Weird scam they pulled, but yeah.

3. 12 month leases are fine. Honestly landlord's usually favor longer leases (like 24 month) as they lock in good tenants. A bad tenant? Lease length does not matter. If they're going to squat and not pay, the lease terms are absolutely irrelevant to them. Keep it at 12, don't listen to the 6 month advice.

The idea that evicting a tenant who is not paying is easier than one who's "lease lapsed" is irrelevant. Both parties can squat there until the sheriff gets a judge to agree to toss them out. In both cases, non-payment constitutes a broken lease. 12 month lease is to retain good tenants.

Also the one-party thing is not a great idea. 2 friends or boyfriend-girlfriend do NOT want one person only liable, nor do you, honestly.

Lessons learned. Now it's expensive lawyer and eviction time.
Good advice
364

Iridium
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by Iridium » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:35 am

PeterParker wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:16 pm
Yeah obviously the advice is highly dependent on jurisdiction.

Still, even in a landlord friendly state, do you want to be going down to file paperwork, talking to constables, and still out for 3 weeks of rent?
Not to mention if it's just some scumbag you're rented your unit to ... who knows what they'll do if you evict. I've heard stories. They might trash the place, take a dump in the oven, etc. Good luck getting a dime outta of them, it's like blood from a stone.

Landlord advice is the same as small business advice.
Set up basic standards and stick to your guns, slow to hire, quick to fire.
That wasn't really OP's issue though. The daughter had strong credit. It is even possible that her income was sufficient to afford the place by herself. She wanted to bring her mother along. The mother has bad credit, but it's not like her finances really matter if the daughter's income is going to pay for everything anyway (and the daughter's credit indicated that she makes reasonable financial decisions). And the mother is unlikely to trash the unit if the end result is a judgement against her daughter. The lesson that OP took away from this was to personal ensure that every tenant signs the lease. Which sounds right to me. OP would be in a really strong position if going after the daughter with a judgement was sure to stick, as the daughter will eventually want that judgement cleared off her credit report. On the flip side, I'm not sure even if both the daughter and mother had strong credit, if it would have prevented this problem. Suppose the signed lease was mailed to OP. Mother accuses daughter of forging signature on the lease. Daughter accuses mother of forging signature on lease. Now what?

PeterParker
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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by PeterParker » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:37 pm

Iridium wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:35 am
The daughter had strong credit. It is even possible that her income was sufficient to afford the place by herself. She wanted to bring her mother along. The mother has bad credit, but it's not like her finances really matter if the daughter's income is going to pay for everything anyway (and the daughter's credit indicated that she makes reasonable financial decisions). And the mother is unlikely to trash the unit if the end result is a judgement against her daughter.
These are assumptions -- only OP can answer.
Again, my dad is a landlord and frequently runs by scenarios to me as a sounding board because he doesn't trust realtors of course.

I've seen these "combo" leases and credit combinations. Most times, the "bad credit" person NEEDS to be on the lease to actually meet the Landlord's old internal minimum income calculations. Otherwise why even put them on the lease. And there's all sorts of Mickey Mouse games played. Like a mountain of debt is being hidden. Or the pay stubs are from a job no longer held.

Also from the description, since the Mom was listed first, it sounds like she definitely was a major player, not an "afterthought" like "oh yeah my mom will live with me."

Your idea that the daughter alone had the credit + income to lease the place ... yeah that would be surprising. Either her mom really is a con artist and was able to both 1. Get her daughter's credit score without her knowledge and 2. Get her daughter's pay stubs without her knowledge and 3. Get her daughter to sign a criminal background check without her knowledge (wait OP probably didn't get one).

OR the highly unusual event where a rich, affluent daughter with perfect credit decides, out of the blue, "I want to get evicted and tank my credit, life is too easy." Yeah .... no way that's the case.

Trashing the place? You're confused.

I'm not saying these scammers will. I'm talking to the guy implying you can "relax" if you live in an eviction-friendly state. No, because if you lease to a scumbag, they will take a dookie in the oven and roast it to 400 degrees overnight.

Most landlords who get burned simply don't follow a decent process for finding tenants. Nothing is certain, sure. They get desperate too fast for various reasons, the realtor + tenants are painting their finances in the "best possible light" --- and Wishful Thinking, they're probably fine. Live and learn.

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Re: Tenant identity theft issue on lease

Post by WhyNotUs » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:44 am

OP, please let us know how this plays out for you. These types of issues come up on a regular basis and others can gain from your experience.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

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