Author Topic: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference  (Read 2035 times)

Spicolli

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Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« on: February 25, 2020, 06:46:52 PM »
I'm a somewhat accidental landlord in that 10 years ago we moved into a nicer home and rather than sell when the market was down, rented out our starter house. A couple of months ago, we finally got rid of our long-time renters that fell behind on payments several years ago and never caught up in spite of having a ridiculously low rate...generally staying about 2-3 months behind on payments. Besides that, they didn't cause many problems and took care of most maintenance themselves. They moved out as requested. They left the place quite dirty but not criminally so. They moved to a place that they are not happy with and their new landlord is allowing them to move out. I got a voicemail from the new prospective landlord asking if I can tell her what kind of renters they were.  I'm kind of in a moral dilemma as to what to do as they want me to put in a good word for them...they have young kids and the mom seems like a good person. The dad was a stay at home guy during the time they rented from us but now has a job. What would you do?

Telecaster

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2020, 06:47:59 PM »
Say exactly what happened. 

Wrenchturner

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2020, 06:56:33 PM »
Say exactly what happened.
This, their reputation is their responsibility.

SunnyDays

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2020, 03:19:16 PM »
Tell them the truth.  (Did the family eventually catch up with their late payments, or leave you in the lurch - not clear.)  With tenant rights being as strong as they are, I would not try to play nice and maybe end up giving a new landlord a headache with these people.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2020, 03:30:40 PM »

Kierun

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2020, 04:17:12 PM »
Just be honest and straightforward.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2020, 11:10:35 PM »
Where's the moral dilemma? If you don't say what happened, you will be screwing over another nice family somewhere that is trying to rent out their property.

Dicey

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2020, 11:56:42 PM »
I'm perplexed. When did telling the truth become a moral dilemma?

Would you want another landlord to have the same experience that you did? How is that not completely unconscionable to you?

Megma

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2020, 02:03:08 PM »
If you feel bad telling the truth, tell the prospective landlord that you decline to give a reference. If they have any experience in references or landlording at all, that will be a clue that there were issues without you having to confirm what exactly those issues were.

redbirdfan

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2020, 08:51:44 PM »
I think your options are to either be honest or to not say anything at all.  The tenants know (or should know) that they fell behind and stayed behind on the rent.  They had the option of not listing you.  If the shoe were on the other foot you would want the former landlord to be honest with you. 

powskier

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2020, 09:52:33 PM »
If you were calling a former landlord on a prospective tenant would you want an accurate history or what?

No moral dilemma here , other than a concern as to why you would think there is a dilemma...
"They are really nice people but were consistently 2-3 months behind" is the truth, that's all you need to say, the facts. Some landlords may be ok with that, others not.
Your tenants behavior and choices are their responsibility, do not make it yours.

Omy

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2020, 07:52:41 AM »
We had a slightly more challenging moral dilemma with a horrible tenant who wouldn't leave until they found another place. They did, however, pay every month. We wrote a truthful email saying that they payed every month (we did not mention the negatives or reply when asked more questions).

A few days later, the tenant called and screamed at us for giving such a terrible review..."How will we be able to move if you give us bad reviews??!!"

We showed the tenant our review email and suggested that perhaps it was a previous landlord that was giving the bad review (now that the landlord had the tenant out of his hair).

Fortunately, the tenant did not put our contact info on any future applications and was eventually accepted by a landlord that we didn't have to speak to.


Wrenchturner

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2020, 06:06:42 PM »
We had a slightly more challenging moral dilemma with a horrible tenant who wouldn't leave until they found another place. They did, however, pay every month. We wrote a truthful email saying that they payed every month (we did not mention the negatives or reply when asked more questions).

A few days later, the tenant called and screamed at us for giving such a terrible review..."How will we be able to move if you give us bad reviews??!!"

We showed the tenant our review email and suggested that perhaps it was a previous landlord that was giving the bad review (now that the landlord had the tenant out of his hair).

Fortunately, the tenant did not put our contact info on any future applications and was eventually accepted by a landlord that we didn't have to speak to.

This is akin to yelling at TransUnion when you get denied for a loan.  I suppose some people might attempt it, but it's still nonsensical.  Anyone who's a tenant should know that their reputation is important.

Dicey

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2020, 06:37:46 PM »
Well, @Spicolli, what did you end up doing? We all have time on our hands now, so it's time for an update, please.

Omy

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Re: Moral dilemma - Previous renters want me as reference
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2020, 06:40:17 PM »
Yep...it was an insane year with that tenant. Then we had to wait two more years to see if they were going to sue us (as threatened) since our county is very tenant-friendly. We would have won that frivolous suit, but it would have been a pain. We thought about selling that rental, but we found a lovely tenant a week after horrible tenant left.