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New Landlord

I am renting my home for the first time and found a couple that viewed my home and want to rent it. I am using a company to do a full background and credit check at the couples expense. I sent them the Tenant Screening Application. What I see is they are both on social security disability and the husband gets LTD from his former employer. They owned 2 homes and forclosed on one in 1/2009. They just filed bankruptcy on the second home in 12/2009 and have not appeared before the judge yet so it is still pending. Based on the proof of income, they can afford the rent, but can their pending bankruptcy have any affect on receiving rent from them in a timely matter with a 12-month Term lease. Should I have them sign a month-to-month Rental Agreement for awhile until I see that they will and can pay rent on time, just in case I have to evict for Non-Payment/Default of rent.

Hi Denise, You're better off losing 1 month rent vs losing 3-6 months because tenant didn't pay the rent and it took you that long to take possession of the property. Since you’re new at this, consider hiring an agency to find you a qualified tenant. Good luck. Keep us posted.
Important---- Credit check , Lease state on it everything that is important, 30day or yearly, or pets , guests , smoking , swimming pools , take pictures inside and out, before they move in ,   Important LIABILITY INSURANCE,they fall down they cannot sue you. Who pays what utilities, the wrong tenant can cause you a lot of sleepless nights,  Like I said,They will come in like Mary Poppins and leave like Jack the Ripper leaving your rugs burn't by butts and drywall looking like swiss cheese. one of the most important is credit check, what good is having a tenant that will not pay you.this weeds them out,do not give them a key unless they have the apartment, this certifys possession,and once this happends it takes a judge for you to get your place back, Do not take shortcuts, checklist with new tenant have the people sign off on condition of place, pets are nice   but they ruin rugs and chew wood moldings , smokers stain walls , ceilings and curtains as well as furniture Cautious Game
Keep bugging them, but in the end, you have a long term tenant already.  Bring a copy over when you collect the rent.  Wait there until they sign it.
You should set up a meeting with your tenants and go over the new lease , I had people in the past put up a stupid sign or breake the lease and then they said they were never told. . Everybody needs a chance, but whay I see here is 1 they ae not responsible tenants and they do not respect your wishes.
I've gone to the unit and asked about it, but there was only one there. Then this past week I left a letter in their mail box asking them to get back to me far nothing. I'm currently reading a book on landlording and it suggests giving them a 'change in terms' document. Apparently that will allow me to change the terms of their 'verbal agreement' from the past owner without their signature, but I can't find the NYS law on that anywhere.   The lease bugs me because I know it protects both parties, but not having any sort of security deposit is the big problem. They could tear the place up and disappear tonight and I would have a hard time getting any compensation.  If the law permits it I'm thinking I'll give them a change in terms and set a date for the security deposit. If they don't put down the deposit I'll have to ask them to leave....Not sure I have any other options.
Still no response from the tenants, I've spoken to an attorney friend who asked to see the lease. She seems to think the through lease I got from may have intimidated them and that's why they are being evasive. I'm reviewing the document, but plan on telling them I'm not going to renew their verbal agreement anymore and that they need to either sign a lease or find a new place.
If you both are the landlords I would list both you and your wife.
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