Calls from felons
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Calls from felons (by WI House [WI]) Jun 13, 2019 8:04 PM
       Calls from felons (by Deanna [TX]) Jun 13, 2019 8:15 PM
       Calls from felons (by Jeff [CO]) Jun 13, 2019 8:32 PM
       Calls from felons (by Robert J [CA]) Jun 13, 2019 9:05 PM
       Calls from felons (by Busy [WI]) Jun 13, 2019 9:12 PM
       Calls from felons (by Judi [CA]) Jun 14, 2019 12:10 AM
       Calls from felons (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 14, 2019 1:15 AM
       Calls from felons (by AllyM [NJ]) Jun 14, 2019 9:13 AM
       Calls from felons (by S i d [MO]) Jun 14, 2019 9:48 AM
       Calls from felons (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Jun 14, 2019 10:20 AM
       Calls from felons (by Vee [OH]) Jun 14, 2019 10:45 AM
       Calls from felons (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Jun 14, 2019 4:48 PM
       Calls from felons (by WI House [WI]) Jun 14, 2019 5:16 PM
       Calls from felons (by WI House [WI]) Jun 14, 2019 5:19 PM
       Calls from felons (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Jun 15, 2019 7:09 PM
       Calls from felons (by small potatoes [NY]) Jun 16, 2019 11:57 PM

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Calls from felons (by WI House [WI]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2019 8:04 PM

I check our state court records online for each person who contacts me. I seem to be getting a lot of calls from felons and in some cases there are multiple people with the same name with various convictions. Some of these folks are in the same city, so asking where they live now doesn't really narrow it down. How do I screen the really bad criminals out before showing them the place and waiting to see if they fill out an application?

I wish I could ask for middle name and birthdate right away or even outright ask "Are you the one convicted of sexual assault of a child" but that would scare off the good people who happen to be unlucky enough to share a name with the felon. Any suggestions?

Calls from felons (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2019 8:15 PM

You might say something like, "We'll run criminal as part of our screening process. Is there anything we're going to see that has a story behind it that you'd like to share ahead of time?" People without a criminal background are going to breeze right past that-- no, there's nothing surprising that would come up-- and some of your criminals will think you're bluffing and lie and say no-- but I'd expect a good number of them to want the opportunity to get their story in.

Calls from felons (by Jeff [CO]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2019 8:32 PM

Kinda odd that you take calls AT ALL. You must have a lot of time on your hands and enjoy talking on the phone. Anyway, with us it depends on the type of felony. --76.120.xx.xx

Calls from felons (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2019 9:05 PM

In many States, like California, a landlord can not discriminate against someone with a "non-violent" criminal past. Felon or not. Instead I allow them to complete an application. Provide pay studs, State Picture ID, bank statements, etc.

All the info so I can do a complete background check.... --47.156.xx.xx

Calls from felons (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2019 9:12 PM

Wi house, attorney Tristan Petit might have discussed felons on one of his blog posts. I ask for name, including middle initial, as well as month and day of birth, but NOT year by text for first contact. Disclaimer: I will need to double-check to make sure my screening criteria is still current with all the changes our state has had lately, if I have to resort to placing an advert next time I need a new tenant. Keeping that notebook with interested applicants may prevent the need for an ad.

Calls from felons (by Judi [CA]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 12:10 AM

When I held open houses for the cottage I used to rent, I'd hand out applications with language on the back highlighted in yellow: "We run criminal background checks on all applicants, so if there are any skeletons in your closet you'd like to let us know about, please explain your situation." I'd read it out loud to the potential applicant before asking if they'd like an application. It was astounding how many people who 5 minutes before were drooling over the cottage and how perfect it was for them and asking how soon could they move in say suddenly it was located too far from work. Thank you for self-screening, folks!

Calls from felons (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 1:15 AM

WI House,

How? Don't be shy. Just ask them for middle initial and birthdate. I don't think that would scare away anyone.

Back in the dark ages when I woudl answer the phone I aksed 3 questions and wanted answers before proceeding with the phone call

1. WHEN do you need a place

2. Are you WORKING?

3. How much RENT do you pay now?

This quickly eliminated a majority of callers and saved me TONS of time.

Now, all our marketing says to complete an application to receive the key lockbox code for a self showing. Not much longer than a pre-app. We can check court records and sex offender list in mere minutes. No app, lousy app, criminal app = no code.

Stay in control. The tail does not wag the dog.


Calls from felons (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 9:13 AM

When I sold one of my buildings my crappy lawyer informed me that there were ten listings of bad behaviors along with my name. He seemed to think I did all those bad things. Needless to say he doesn't get my business anymore and there are about ten people on Facebook with the same name as mine! I am the only blonde.

Calls from felons (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 9:48 AM

I'm with Brad on this one: questions like middle name and b-date won't scare away any GOOD applicants. It probably will scare away some of the bad ones. Other bad ones will lie. Not much you can do about that.

I recommend having a list of questions they must answer before you do any showings, and I also highly recommend lock box showings like Brad and I (and many other posters on this site) use.

Think about this: the worst thing that can happen if you do a lock box showing is someone steals all the pipes out of your home and floods it. Insurance can help with that, if you have the proper policy (and if not, get it!)

By contrast, the worst thing that can happen if you do in-person showings is a land-lord hating criminal can bash your head in with a pipe and kill you.'s not a question of risk vs. no risk. It's a question of what kind of risk are you willing to take? For me, lock box all the way! Worst thing that has happened to me in almost 5 years of lock box showings is someone did #2 in the toilet in a place where the water was shut off. No biggies. Flush, cap full of bleach, scrub for 30 second, flush...done.

Calls from felons (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 10:20 AM

If you speak on the phone to your applicants, or even in an email, you can get back to them and say "There appear to be three different people with the same name as you that have felony records.

I am happy to make the effort to verify that you aren't one of them. To do so I will need your full name and date of birth. Then when you come to view the house, I will need to see government issued picture ID."

Never worry about hurting an applicant's feelings. Be careful to never violate fair housing laws, but don't worry about offending.

If you are polite about it, tenants expect to jump through hoops and they expect to have their lives pried into. No one who is not a felon is going to be upset that you will take the time to verify that the criminal record online isn't theirs.

Anyone with a criminal record knows that it is time to withdraw because you are one of the landlords who actually checks. And for Pete's sake, who cares if a felon gets his feelings hurt?

Calls from felons (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 10:45 AM

Adding to what Brad said, can you bring me a copy of your lease??

Calls from felons (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 4:48 PM

What if you sent them an information packet before scheduling. First page is a notice about all the steps you will perform in screening EVERY applicant.

Maybe you could take that approach?

Calls from felons (by WI House [WI]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 5:16 PM

I misspoke. This person contacted me through e-mail. But I did call him back and I'm glad I called rather than e-mail him. He said all kinds of stuff that disqualified him and I never would have found all of that out through an e-mail. He ended up deciding that he would look around at other places, so bonus, I don't even have to turn him down! I think my questions convinced him to seek other landlords who won't screen as well.

Thanks to this site I have learned to listen better and catch red flags that I might have missed in the past.

Calls from felons (by WI House [WI]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2019 5:19 PM

Forgot to ad that I did ask for his middle name but by that point he had was already disqualified.

A friend of mine lives in an expensive "luxury" apartment and she said that she would be really put off if someone asked her middle initial/name or birth date before she even filled out an application.

Calls from felons (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Jun 15, 2019 7:09 PM

Screening starts with the words hello

They are screening you as much as you are screening them. Those that seem timid are going to get taken advantage of by the other party.

I personally see value in knowing who I am doing business with, then again my adds are specific enough that if I have a call - the folks saw my phone number in the MIDDLE of the add. You can't simply go to the bottom of my add. The top of my add tells you how I am going to screen you. It is the bottom of the add that describes the place.

This method works for me - then again, there are many different schools of thought. Some will tell you to get lots of online applications that you have to review. The bottom line is get a pipeline created

Calls from felons (by small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Jun 16, 2019 11:57 PM

You can also catch a hole in their rental history.

I did recently have an honest convict list the detention house as his address. He was planning ahead for his release date. BUT didn't make the cut for lack of rental history. Now is that discriminating against felons?

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