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Dear Patty - Tenants in a Hurry

Wednesday, March 7, 2012  
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Dear Patty,

I have a potential applicant who wants to move in right away. Should I be concerned?

--Alarmed

Dear Alarmed,

The short answer is "yes.” There are many valid reasons why a tenant would need possession immediately, but there are many more that would indicate a problematic tenancy. You must always be cautious of requests for immediate occupancy.

People who need immediate possession can be trying to get a new place before their eviction shows up on a background report. They could be abandoning a property where they are already bound to a lease. There is also the possibility that they are about to enter into a legal dispute with their current landlord. The most likely case is that they are hoping that you will have to move so fast you will do a less than thorough job in your rental and employment verification.

The first thing you need to do when asked for immediate tenancy is to ask them why. If their answer is too vague or there is a lot of hesitation in their voice you most likely have a less than desirable tenant. You are expected to always practice your due diligence when placing a tenant, but you will need to go that extra mile for a request such as this. Keep in mind that if this tenant is a problem tenant you will be the one explaining to your owner why you placed them.

That is not to say that requests for immediate tenancy are always going to lead to bad tenancies. There are several legitimate reasons for quick possession. There could have been some event at their current residence that would render the unit uninhabitable. Someone could be in the middle of a job transfer and want to get in and get settled before the new job begins. Or, it could be a scenario (particularly in light of the current real estate market) that an unscrupulous owner allowed a tenant to enter into a lease after he had already been served an eviction notice. If the eviction is already underway when the lease is executed the tenant may no longer have legal standing with regard to the property and may have to vacate with little or no notice.

Good luck,

Patty

"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Subcommittee. Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to education@orlrealtor.com.

The ORRA Property Management Subcommittee provides this property-management advice column as a service to ORRA members. The column is intended to provide a general understanding, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation. The column should not be relied upon in specific situations without consulting a real estate attorney.


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