By: Max Petkevicius
Almost every day our applicants find a new way to surprise us at Bemrose. Whether it is how much money an applicant leaves owing a landlord, a crazy story about why they lied about being evicted or just criminal charges one would never expect; we have learned to expect the unexpected. Some stories, however, remain with us long after the applicant has passed through our screening process. Here are a few of those stories that stand out above the rest that make up our Hall of Fame Horror Stories.
After being evicted one applicant refused to pay utilities on top of rent and their water and other utilities were shut off. Rather than vacate the unit and admit their mistakes this applicant started to use large garbage bins in lieu of their non working toilets. In their mind it may have been a creative, albeit disgusting, way to solve their issue, however the landlord and anyone who had to be involved in the cleanup may have a different opinion.
When we screen an applicant we like to get a copy of their ID to have for reference to make sure their birthday is correct and see where they are from and just to have as a good reference point. On the screening we also ask if the applicant has ever been convicted of any crimes. One applicant did not realize that these two aspects of the screening process are linked when they provided their prison ID as identification and then proceeded to answer no to the criminal question. Just a hint of common sense would have gone a long way in this applicant’s case.
For some reason applicants believe that it will reflect poorly on them if they have been living with family or friends. While this is not the case we see it all too often that family member or friends will lie on and applicant’s behalf, which is the reason we do not typically reach out to friends and family. In one specific instance we may have accidentally caused a rift between father and daughter when this occurred. We reached out to an applicant’s father for a reference not knowing it was her father and he claimed not to know the applicant. When we reached out to the applicant to obtain some other information she said this person was her father and was very confused as to why he would lie about not knowing her.
Often parts of the application are left blank and we reach out to the applicant, if possible, to get more information. In one instance the social security number was left off of an applicant so we reached out to the applicant to get it because we need that number to pull credit. When reaching out to this applicant we got an explanation we were not expecting; This applicant referred to themselves as a Sovereign Citizen which, in their minds, means they do not have to abide by the government’s laws and regulations because in essence they are not a citizen of the United States but a “Traveler”.
This applicant claimed to have returned his social security card back to the Social Security Administration because they felt they did not need to have it and it was not a legal necessity. There are other examples of this type of Sovereign Citizen represented on the internet, but for our purposes the delusional world this applicant was living in did not include our approval for one of our client’s properties.
Too often tenants do not agree that they should be evicted even when the contract is in clear violation. In rare cases tenants look for ways to get back at their landlords and one rental reference we received may have the most disgusting example of this we have ever seen. An evicted tenant had been purposefully leaving out piles of garbage and old food in order to attract rats.
All of these are examples of the type of behavior we make sure alert our clients to before ever renting to someone like these examples. We want to keep these as just stories our clients hear and never experiences they actually have to deal with.
DISCLAIMER: READ CAREFULLY: The information provided in this article is not considered legal advice and is given only for information purposes. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR LEGAL COUNSEL.