Dear Fair Housing Insiders:
We have an owner who is getting very frustrated with roommate situations in single-family home rentals where there are three roommates qualified together but no one qualifies on their own. So when one of them decides to leave, we end up typically in an eviction/skip situation. So he has asked us to add the following paragraph to our rental criteria for his 230+ single-family rental homes “Should two (2) or more people be applying together for a property at least one of the applicants must qualify on their own. If neither/none of the applicants qualify as individuals each applicant must have a qualified cosigner.” Thoughts?
Signed ~~ Qualification Question
Leasing Application Language
Roommate scenarios both in single-family and multifamily are a growing trend. With regards to the single-family home question, I believe your safest course of action would be to require each person to qualify individually and require a co-signer for any person who does not qualify as an individual. I know this sounds almost the same as what you wrote and I’m uncomfortable with the “Should two or more people” language; I think “Each applicant must qualify as an individual or provide a co-signer” is “cleaner”.
We reached out to Campus Advantage to ask for their comments on this type of scenario. The student housing industry has scenarios like these on a daily basis. That’s their business. We have such a wonderful industry that we can count on for advice. Notice their comments.
Student Housing Perspective
Dan Oltersdorf, Chief Learning Officer & SVP, provided this comment: “I certainly think this type of situation puts a spotlight on the value we provide in student housing by doing individual liability leasing, protecting both the tenant(s) and owner/manager.”
Kelly Vickroy, VP of Learning & Development, stated that ‘She is glad to have individual leases and quality legal counsel, both locally and nationally’.
Both of these quotes really highlight the need to thoroughly investigate your policies and procedures to make sure all parties are protected. It makes no sense to wing it when it comes to potential liability issues. Legal counsel is always the best route.
Roommates – A Growing Trend
Roommates or housemates are a growing trend and will continue to have an impact on the property management industry. Pewresearch.org published an article entitled: More U.S. Adults Now Share Their Living Space. Here is an interesting quote from the article: “American adults are increasingly sharing a home with other adults with whom they are not romantically involved. This arrangement, known as “doubling up” or shared living, gained notice in the wake of the Great Recession, and nearly a decade later, the prevalence of shared living has continued to grow.”
Be sure to check the rest of the article out. With this trend in mind, it is important that all sectors of housing have policies and procedures in place to address this scenario. Having clear documentation will always help mitigate potential fair housing challenges. Be aware of housing trends and be proactive instead of reactive.
If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out- Dear Fair Housing Insiders – Resident With Special Needs