Author Topic: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?  (Read 8083 times)

thedayisbrave

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Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« on: July 07, 2015, 09:28:50 AM »
He claims his roommate rolled a joint while he was away, and they both got slapped with the misdemeanor.  He could be lying, he could be telling the truth...

In either case, WWYD?


johnny847

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 09:29:55 AM »
He claims his roommate rolled a joint while he was away, and they both got slapped with the misdemeanor.  He could be lying, he could be telling the truth...

In either case, WWYD?

Depends on the market. Do you have a lot of potential other tenants? I'm guessing not if you're asking this...

thedayisbrave

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 09:33:03 AM »
Do you have a lot of potential other tenants?

Yes... but school starts in a little over a month, so time is ticking...

Villanelle

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 09:37:59 AM »
In general yes.  But that story seems fishy as hell.  I'd prefer someone who just owned up to rolling a damn joint.  I suppose it's possible it was the nefarious "friend", but I'd be skeptical.

That said, if he has a rental history and strong credit, I might still do it, given that time is tight for you if students is your main market. 

Another Reader

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 09:53:08 AM »
If he were 30 and had some stupid misdemeanor conviction at 19 with no issues since, he would pass.  If he is 19 and it happened recently, I would not take him as a tenant.  I want to see a mistake in the past, not current irresponsible behavior. 

Shor

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 09:58:11 AM »
Most students are not making their own money to pay for rent, pay for tuition/school, and pay for drugs. You can either impose a zero drug tolerance policy, or not care and take the rent money. Would it make you feel better if they had a clean record but smoked cigs 24/7 and had copious amount of s** every night?

College students tear up their living quarters. That's just how it is. Unless you feel that there is some reason they would not be able to pay the rent when it's due, you should already be prepared for the years of wear and tear they will inflict on your property.

KBecks2

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 10:09:24 AM »
No.

forummm

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 10:30:01 AM »
About 50% of people have used marijuana. It's defacto legal in a bunch of states. And it's on its way to being legal federally. I'd rather my kid use a little marijuana than binge drink or smoke cigarettes or other legal and common behavior.

sol

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 10:44:32 AM »
Yes.  As long as he pays on time.

Renting to students is always a little risky.  Price accordingly and roll with it.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 01:50:52 PM »
What is the credit score?  That will tell you more than any criminal charge.


johnny847

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 02:00:34 PM »
What is the credit score?  That will tell you more than any criminal charge.

I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

forummm

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2015, 02:34:15 PM »
What is the credit score?  That will tell you more than any criminal charge.

I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

My landlady in college looked at my grades. She was a professor at the school and said grades were better than a credit score, especially for people with no credit history.

JessEsq

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2015, 03:01:23 PM »
I'm a lawyer and not a landlord (though I've filed my fair share of evictions for clients...)

There are a lot of factors here:

How long ago was this misdemeanor?

Was it really a misdemeanor (on par with a DUI and usually labeled by degrees... in Ohio it's 1-4 an M-1 is the "worst" misdemeanor before we are talking felony) or was it a "minor misdemeanor" more like a traffic ticket?  In Ohio a MM is something you just pay the fine and don't even have to go to court.

Did the potential tenant pay the fines/do the community service on time? (Court records should show that and a lot of municipalities have that information online).

What the heck were the cops there for in the first place? Was it a loud house party with under-aged drinking and the cops busted in on that and found this "friend's" joint? That is a little more concerning for a landlord than a few lousy joints. In a lot of cities, the police reports can be found online using nothing more than a date an address in the police department's online database. That might be worth a look.

Overall, a ticket/misdemeanor for a joint wouldn't scare me if the tenant otherwise had a clean rental history, paid the fine for the misdemeanor on time, and paid the required security deposit.

Good luck!

johnny847

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2015, 03:18:41 PM »
What is the credit score?  That will tell you more than any criminal charge.

I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

My landlady in college looked at my grades. She was a professor at the school and said grades were better than a credit score, especially for people with no credit history.
Haha I like this approach.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2015, 06:39:07 PM »
Thanks so much for the replies everyone! Very helpful.

Suit

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2015, 08:17:58 PM »
Depending on how much time you have to decide and what jurisdiction you are in you could try to get a copy of the police report. In Oregon they are public record.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2015, 08:46:31 PM »
I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

Actually, it tells you a lot.  A person can have a 700+ credit score easily, at 18.  A 500 credit score at 18, combined with drug charges, would be a disaster.

At 18 you do not have much, and this kids criminal record is already bad.  Stay on a month-to-month lease, and get a larger deposit.

johnny847

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2015, 09:04:13 PM »
I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

Actually, it tells you a lot.  A person can have a 700+ credit score easily, at 18.  A 500 credit score at 18, combined with drug charges, would be a disaster.

At 18 you do not have much, and this kids criminal record is already bad.  Stay on a month-to-month lease, and get a larger deposit.
I didn't have a credit card in college. Neither did a lot of my friends. Our credit reports were blank.

Suppose I applied as a tenant for a property you own back then. How exactly would my credit report have helped you?

fishnfool

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2015, 10:02:04 PM »
I wouldn't exclude this potential tenant for that as long as he has sufficient income etc.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2015, 05:42:16 AM »
I didn't have a credit card in college. Neither did a lot of my friends. Our credit reports were blank.

Suppose I applied as a tenant for a property you own back then. How exactly would my credit report have helped you?

Great question.  I actually wrote a post about it a while ago.  You would have been VERY high risk.  No score could be 700+ in a few months, or a disaster in the making.  In many areas, you cannot make the screening decision based on the age of the tenant.  People that fall off the credit radar have no scores too.  Some people are all cash.  A 40 year old with no credit needs to have the same criteria as the 18 year old one.  I like tenants that have a proven track record of responsibility.

http://www.nononsenselandlord.com/2014/03/risk-of-tenants-with-low-credit-score-explained/

If you also had a criminal record, combined with no credit score, no rental history, likely not great employment, I would likely pass on you.  Or go with a larger deposit and a month-to-month lease.

Profitable landlording is all about mitigating risk.  I would rather exclude nine great tenants in an attempt to keep out the one bad one, than let the nine in along with the bad one.  There are far too many tenants out there to try to take in a risky one.

With this tenant the OP posted about, a young person might have one misdemeanor now, but what will it be in another year.  At 18 your criminal record gets wiped clean.  Will there be more drug charges?  Maybe DUIs?  Maybe driving after revocation?  Maybe drug dealing?  A felony possession charge?  Or did he learn his lesson?

It may be best to let someone else take a chance on this one for a few years.

But that is what makes great landlord stories and creates a high return for the successful RE investors.  If all tenants were great, it would only give a 5% return, not a 20%+ return.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 06:59:32 AM by NoNonsenseLandlord »

johnny847

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2015, 06:05:55 AM »
I didn't have a credit card in college. Neither did a lot of my friends. Our credit reports were blank.

Suppose I applied as a tenant for a property you own back then. How exactly would my credit report have helped you?

Great question.  I actually wrote a post about it a while ago.  You would have been VERY high risk.  No score could be 700+ in a few months, or a disaster in the making. In many areas, you cannot make the screening decision based on the age of the tenant.  People that fall off the credit radar have no scores too.  Some people are all cash.  A 40 year old with no credit needs to have the same criteria as the 18 year old one.  I like tenants that have a proven track record of responsibility.

This is exactly the point I was trying to make. It is not uncommon for students to have a blank credit history.
What is the credit score?  That will tell you more than any criminal charge.

I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2015, 07:09:01 AM »
This is exactly the point I was trying to make. It is not uncommon for students to have a blank credit history.

You are correct.  And it is not uncommon for a student (or anyone) with a blank credit score to have a clean criminal record.  A no-score, combined with a misdemeanor, exponentially increases your risk.  The plus side you have is that they graduated from High school...

A student is one of the riskiest housing choices you can make.  Also one of the most profitable.  The tenant may not have a credit score, can only go back a few months on a criminal background (if you even check the home state), little income and no rental history.

Students from financially conscious families will have a credit score.  Their parents will have them on a joint credit card, or one of their own.

So, get a higher deposit, stick to a M2M lease, or pass.

And do not forget, if a 40 year old guy applies to your add for coed "rooms for rent" , you have to have the same criteria for him, as you do everyone else.

Megma

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2015, 09:20:48 AM »
I'm curious what you decided theDayIsBrave?

shotgunwilly

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2015, 09:37:14 AM »
Yes.  As long as he pays on time.

Renting to students is always a little risky.  Price accordingly and roll with it.

I see what you did there...

thedayisbrave

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2015, 11:16:58 AM »
I'm curious what you decided theDayIsBrave?

Hey! I told him to go ahead with the background check application, and if all the financial/credit details are good enough I'm willing to overlook the misdemeanor.  Another of my tenants gave me his notice yesterday so I have to work on filling his room as well. 

Yes.  As long as he pays on time.

Renting to students is always a little risky.  Price accordingly and roll with it.

I see what you did there...

Bahaha good one.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2015, 11:18:54 AM »
This is exactly the point I was trying to make. It is not uncommon for students to have a blank credit history.

You are correct.  And it is not uncommon for a student (or anyone) with a blank credit score to have a clean criminal record.  A no-score, combined with a misdemeanor, exponentially increases your risk.  The plus side you have is that they graduated from High school...

A student is one of the riskiest housing choices you can make.  Also one of the most profitable.  The tenant may not have a credit score, can only go back a few months on a criminal background (if you even check the home state), little income and no rental history.

Students from financially conscious families will have a credit score.  Their parents will have them on a joint credit card, or one of their own.

So, get a higher deposit, stick to a M2M lease, or pass.

And do not forget, if a 40 year old guy applies to your add for coed "rooms for rent" , you have to have the same criteria for him, as you do everyone else.

This person is right - My property is close to a university and students are held to the same standard as everyone else. My DH had a credit score over 700 when he was in college and that is how he got his apartment. When we tried to buy a house, I couldn't even go on the mortgage because I had no credit, even though I had a great job. I learned my lesson then, at 23, and have a 700+ score now. My DH has passed 800.

The Money Monk

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2015, 11:38:21 AM »
About 50% of people have used marijuana. It's defacto legal in a bunch of states. And it's on its way to being legal federally. I'd rather my kid use a little marijuana than binge drink or smoke cigarettes or other legal and common behavior.

I agree. A huge percentage of the people you will rent to use or have used weed, they just haven't gotten caught.


sol

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2015, 11:46:42 AM »
A huge percentage of the people you will rent to use or have used weed, they just haven't gotten caught.

That's the point, though.  I would have no hesitation renting to someone who has smoked weed.  I might have hesitation renting to someone who was dumb/flagrant enough to get caught and prosecuted for it.

By analogy, consider if you would rent to someone cited for masturbation.  Doing it is fine.  Doing it in such a way that it results in a police record is not.

Letj

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2015, 12:08:10 PM »
About 50% of people have used marijuana. It's defacto legal in a bunch of states. And it's on its way to being legal federally. I'd rather my kid use a little marijuana than binge drink or smoke cigarettes or other legal and common behavior.

I have had first hand knowledge of how devastating marijuana use can be. Yes compared to binge drinking and smoking it may not be as bad. However, it's just not a habit that should be given a pass in my book. I've seen kids develop schizophrenia and I've known lifelong marijuana smokers who came down with lung cancer and we can't forget that marijuana is such a downer that its users are often not motivated to do much. Based on my first hand knowledge, I hope to God my children never use any drugs including recreational marijuana which falls in the same class as cocaine. Smoking marijuana and driving is quite dangerous too. I think the media is doing a major disservice to the public by so heavily promoting marijuana use and not highlighting the devastating effects it can have.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2015, 12:34:12 PM »
I don't recommend people use marijuana, but I don't think it's a huge character flaw and I see no reason for it to be illegal. That said, I could understand seeing getting caught for it as a red flag.

FrugalFan

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2015, 01:19:56 PM »
What is the credit score?  That will tell you more than any criminal charge.

I don't think credit scores are very informative if those looking to rent are mostly students.

My landlady in college looked at my grades. She was a professor at the school and said grades were better than a credit score, especially for people with no credit history.

Love this! Probably true.

electriceagle

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2015, 04:54:02 AM »
By analogy, consider if you would rent to someone cited for masturbation.  Doing it is fine.  Doing it in such a way that it results in a police record is not.

Bingo. A lot of posession cases are actually dealing cases where the police & DA couldn't be bothered to prove intent to sell.

Or it could be that the student is black or brown and got lots of extra attention from the police, resulting in an arrest that was not really necessary.

Have a look at the laws in your area. Can you easily boot someone who breaks the house rules/terms of the lease? If so, you have more leeway to take risky tenants. If not, you need to be very strict in your tenant choices.

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2015, 09:32:08 AM »
a friend of mine smokes a lot of pot.
He rents from me.
Other than being a slob, I have no problems with it.
Make sure "no smoking" is on the lease.
I don't think there's anything nefarious about pot. Would you be better off with a clean tenant? Maybe.
Maybe you also wind up with a long term renter who would rather pay your annual increase than try to move.

johnny847

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2015, 09:43:46 AM »
A huge percentage of the people you will rent to use or have used weed, they just haven't gotten caught.

That's the point, though.  I would have no hesitation renting to someone who has smoked weed.  I might have hesitation renting to someone who was dumb/flagrant enough to get caught and prosecuted for it.

By analogy, consider if you would rent to someone cited for masturbation.  Doing it is fine.  Doing it in such a way that it results in a police record is not.

It isn't analogous though. Possession of marijuana is illegal (unless we're talking about the handful of states that have legalized it, but it's still illegal at a federal level, leading to a weird legal situation. I digress). It doesn't matter if you're flaunting it or not. Possession, in of itself, is illegal, period.

Masturbation, in of itself, is not illegal. Masturbation in public is.


I understand the point you're trying to make and I more or less agree with it. The analogy, however, doesn't hold.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 09:29:20 PM by johnny847 »

powskier

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2015, 08:40:44 PM »
One of my best tenants , whom I inherited when we purchased the property 5 years ago, was in jail for attempted murder and kidnapping.
Pleasant, pays on time, zero problems. People make mistakes all the time, some of them change for the better. I know a few high level professionals who are outstanding parents and citizens with drug misdemeanors on their records.

Villanelle

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2015, 11:17:50 AM »
One of my best tenants , whom I inherited when we purchased the property 5 years ago, was in jail for attempted murder and kidnapping.
Pleasant, pays on time, zero problems. People make mistakes all the time, some of them change for the better. I know a few high level professionals who are outstanding parents and citizens with drug misdemeanors on their records.

Sure.  And there are people with recent bankruptcies or 600 credit scores and scads of late payments in their history who are outstanding tenants and pay their rent on time.  It doesn't mean I want to rent to them.  The odds aren't in their favor.  People might be more than odds and numbers and actuarial tables, but as a landlord, you don't usually have a good way of knowing whether they are exceptions or not.  All you really have its the odds. 

Rollin

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2015, 08:24:13 AM »
He claims his roommate rolled a joint while he was away, and they both got slapped with the misdemeanor.  He could be lying, he could be telling the truth...

In either case, WWYD?

Remember that the rule is if they are talking they are probably lying :)  YMMV, but assume that and then build from there, as opposed to assuming they are telling the truth.

Rollin

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2015, 08:26:06 AM »
Yes.  As long as he pays on time.

Renting to students is always a little risky.  Price accordingly and roll with it.

Oh such a subtle pun there sol.

Rollin

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2015, 08:39:12 AM »
About 50% of people have used marijuana. It's defacto legal in a bunch of states. And it's on its way to being legal federally. I'd rather my kid use a little marijuana than binge drink or smoke cigarettes or other legal and common behavior.

I have had first hand knowledge of how devastating marijuana use can be. Yes compared to binge drinking and smoking it may not be as bad. However, it's just not a habit that should be given a pass in my book. I've seen kids develop schizophrenia and I've known lifelong marijuana smokers who came down with lung cancer and we can't forget that marijuana is such a downer that its users are often not motivated to do much. Based on my first hand knowledge, I hope to God my children never use any drugs including recreational marijuana which falls in the same class as cocaine. Smoking marijuana and driving is quite dangerous too. I think the media is doing a major disservice to the public by so heavily promoting marijuana use and not highlighting the devastating effects it can have.

Thank you Letj for pointing that out clearly.  There are so many that don't think its an issue, but they either don't really know the issues, or just choose to ignore the true consequences.

In our state, the number of high school kids smoking pot has risen greatly.  Media coverage of states legalizing didn't help that, and I spoke to a few kids that were going to vote for the medical marijuana legislation because they thought that they would now be able to smoke legally.  I've seen the impact of that on teens and it is not pretty.

BlueHouse

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2015, 09:06:57 AM »
Hook me up, man. 
Just kidding.  As long as he's not a cigarette smoker, then maybe. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Would you rent to a student with a drug misdemeanor?
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2015, 09:26:04 AM »
Ah yes, the good old "it was my roommate's" excuse. Right up there with "my dog ate my homework".

Like others have said, the fact that he got caught is a stronger indicator of someone who doesn't have his affairs together than the smoking.

It also depends where he goes to school. If he's a student at a prestigious school, you can probably chalk it up to a one time, momentary lapse of reason. Even the high achievers get caught up in some stupid stuff sometimes.