A gut feeling about a prospective tenant

10 Replies

Hi Bp, 

So i have a prospective tenant for my rental and she has been really really interested in the place. Only problem is I haven't verified income yet but I feel like she won't be able to afford the place mainly because of stories she's told me already and that she had to borrow the money (first last and security) just to get in. I still am treating her like everyone as to not discriminate but if i cross the bridge of having to deny her. How do I word that in the letter to her? Is there some trick to the trade I haven't learned yet?

"Dear applicant. thank you for submitting an application for the rental at 123 Main Street. We have accepted the application and deposit for a qualified applicant. Best wishes on your search."

I tell people what my screening process is and the basic qualifications. I have detailed qualification requirements on my web site for them to review (they rarely do). If they still decide to apply, I run them through the wringer and either approve or deny. I don't waste my time talking with prospective renters a lot because they will eat up my time. I show it, I let them know my criteria, and I leave the ball in their court.

Another favorite of prospective tenants is to submit part of the application. I don't keep calling them or emailing them asking for the rest of their documentation or to pay the fee. I tell them that up front and they can either follow directions and apply according to my simple instructions or they can lose the opportunity to rent.

I wouldn’t ignore a gut feeling. Maybe you’re wrong and she ends up being a great tenant but if you’re right and she isn’t, the only one that suffers is you.

Are you really hard up for tenants without any applicants for an extended period of time? A credit check is a great idea and maybe can sway your decision but... unless it was fantastic I would walk away.

I require tenants to have 3x monthly rent as income, ask them for a copy of their paychecks and call their employer to be sure. I am flexible with all other criteria especially credit score. Rented to tenants with eviction records (after deliberation), rented to tenants who gave me only half-the deposit, basically broke all the "rules" except the rule of making sure they have well paying job. So far, worked out great. 

I agree with what everyone has mentioned. Keep the denial letter short. If she doesn't meet your income requirement, you have nothing to worry about. You can let her know your criteria, but if she wants to apply and spend the money to be screened, go ahead and let her. I think its best to let prospective tenants know your qualifications up front, then if they wish to apply, nothing is a secret. If they don't meet your qualifications, they should be expecting a denial letter.

Inform them of your qualifications, do a superficial screening and inform her that her application has been rejected. Or wait till you do have a qualified approved applicant and let her know the unit is no longer available.

Remember you are operating a business, be professional and give only the minimum amount of information necessary. Never inform an applicant the reason they have been rejected.

Thanks everyone for the advice I took all of what you guys suggested and after handing the app and reinforcing the minimum requirements and the app fee she hasn't called me back about handing it in. Fun fact when I restated the income verification that I do she then told me she doesn't have a bank account.