Who would you rent to?

4 Replies

This is purely hypothetical, I just rented four units and find that in my area, and in the type of rental I have I occasionally find perfect tenants, but there is usually some "issue", or I have a sense they may not stay long in the unit, due to location, unit size, etc. 

Hypothetical unit - $1000/month, 1bed 1bath bungalow in a blue-collar area

Hypothetical Prospective Tenants

Joe: needs to get out of bad roommate situation, is facing eviction due to roommate non-payment confirmed by landlord who consistently has gotten joe's half of the rent. No problems with previous landlord.

Income:  $2000/mo plus $1200 tips (he is a waiter and has been employed at the same restaurant for 3 years)

Savings: $9,500

Credit score: 685 all accounts current, late payments several years back on a credit card that is now paid off

Debt: Credit card and auto loan payments: $255

Nick and Nora - couple moving in together, both were living with relatives and have no rental history.

Income: $5800/month - he is a mechanic, she is a call-center employee both have stable employment history

Savings:  $150/$50

Credit scores: 695/455; Betty has collections and multiple late recent payments

Debt: Car payments and credit card debt $1600/mo

Tom: just finished graduate school, looking to start a new life, stable housing history, looking for a full-time job in his masters discipline, working at 2 part-time white collar jobs he has held through school.

Income: $3100

Savings: $1200

Credit score: 775, lots of debt, but pays on time. 

Debt: $58,000 college loans, $14,000 auto loan, $3800 credit card debt; total payments $1100.

Hello Gretchen,

I found your post intriguing and although I do not have rentals I wanted to give my input.
Joe as a waiter sounded like a great candidate with paid off credit card debt and a 2000 salary plus 1200 in tips.
Problem is that tips are not a guaranteed income. He does pay on time and is stable in his employment.
Nick and Nora sounded risky to me. They will have to learn to live together, that is a situation that could be positive or negative.
With his responsibility in paying his bills and her irresponsibility In paying bills could become a huge conflict.
Tom sounds great to me also. He is a recent graduate so his income potential is great. With his current income he is current on debt and has a small savings.

My choice would actually be Tom.
His money management sounds great!
He is a graduate so his earning potential should increase.
He has been stable working 2 jobs while finishing school!!!
While paying off debt he still has a small savings.
I am curious to see what others think also.

I would go with Joe. While his income is dependant on tips, 3 year history at the same place means he's probably pulling consistent tips. I wouldn't hold the eviction thing against him if his landlord vouched and the one before that liked him. 

I'd choose Joe over Tom because I doubt Tom would stay as long. Once he gets his high paying job, it's likely he'll want to upgrade. Also currently 2/3 of his income before taxes would go to rent and debt payment, that's a bit much for me. 

The couple have to many problems. I'd stay away from them.

Joe - all day long.

3x rent


above average credit score


nick and nora

fine as long as they stay together, when they split, it's your headache

and they have no savings to solve any financial problems should something up

455 credit score - I've been in lending for years. No one gets a <500 score without some serious negligence. this is a deal breaker for me



young kid, lots of debt.

not the worst tenant, but not the best choice of those given.

In order of desirability.

1. Joe

2. Tom

3. Nick & Nora

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