Need tenant screening advice

6 Replies

When it comes to tenant screening, I usually always follow the best practices. Income 3 times rent, no eviction (ever), no major criminal background, good rental history and references, decent credit etc etc. I am currently in the process of renting a property. A couple that has applied - boyfriend has a good job, good credit, good rental history and no criminal background - an ideal candidate. My tenant screening company gives him a score of 94 out of 100. Girlfriend also a decent credit, a decent job and no criminal background, but she had an eviction 2 years ago (was not living with the boyfriend at the time). Tenant screening company gives her a score of 82 out of 100. Now any other time I would automatically reject a candidate for having an eviction, but I am thinking if I should reconsider given boyfriend's financial background. What would you do? Any advice would be appreciated. BTW, this is a nice property in a nice area, and I am getting a lot of interest from other candidates, so finding another good candidate probably would not be an issue. 

Don't see a problem leasing to both of them.  BF mitigates the risk of the GF with the eviction.  However, if you can find a single tenant with good income and background I would go that route.  BFs and GFs have a tendency to split up and leave other holding the bag when it comes to paying the rent.

I agree with David, the boyfriend can act as a sort of guarantor for the girlfriend. As long as they're both on the lease, I don't see a problem with accepting them. Beware that they may break up and only one of them may be stuck paying the rent. 

Agreed with the folks above. A solid B with almost an A+ = a good equation to me. Hell it's better than I did in Algebra. :) Best of luck to you.

@Kazi R. I have similar rental criteria to you and if it were me I would not rent to them. You have rental criteria for a reason and these applicants don’t meet them...one of them has an eviction. 

The income being 3x the rent criteria is meant to be applied collectively to the applicant group, meaning if a husband and wife apply together and the husband’s income is 6x the rent and the wife’s is 2x (or doesn’t work at all), they’d still qualify. However, all of the criteria is not meant to be viewed that way. Some of the criteria must be evaluated on an individual basis, such as eviction and criminal history. 

If you ran the criminal history on husband and wife applicants and the wife came back clean but the husband showed to have multiple prior felony fraud convictions or violent assault convictions, would you still rent to them because the wife was clean? Hope not. Same thing with evictions. If one of them had ever been through an eviction before, they likely know more about the process than you, along with all the possible stall tactics to stay in then home without paying. Keep in mind this person made another landlord take the matter all the way through the whole eviction process for it to show up on her record. That says something about her as a tenant. 

For me, it’s a hard pass. Should be for you too based on your stated rental criteria. 

Thank you all for your responses. I ended up rejecting the application. I have never approved an application with eviction record before, so I was already on the fence on this one. Then I called her to get some clarification. She at first pretended that she didn't know what I was talking about! Then she remembered, but said eviction happened 4 years ago even though court record shows it happened 2 years ago. Then said she was paying off the previous landlord, but wouldn't be able to provide any proof of that! In short, she was not truthful or accountable. I didn't get a good vibe at all, so I rejected the application. BTW, @Kyle J. agree with everything you said. Thank you!