Newbie needs help picking the right tenant

42 Replies

Finally after a week of having my property on a market i have 2 application and i can't see to pick one. Also, this is my first rental ever so wish me luck. So here is the scoop: the rent amount is $1275. 2.5 time the rent no criminal

applicant #1- older gentleman with his step daughter and 2 kids. gentleman has 3 different income.

income A - $400 from new paper delivery

income B - $1573 from disability

income C - $600 from pizza place

Credit score 634

Obviously he won't qualify by himself. His daughter works at best buy make $2000 per month which will not qualify her by herself either beside her score is 504 or something and 2 bills in collection ( red flag) . The girl just got out of a toxic relationship and moving in with the father. My worry is that the girl might split at any moment. together they make a lot over the 2.5 time the rent.

Applicant #2

Older lady in her early 40s no kids no husband. works as a nanny full time ($2800) and work part time as care giver to elderly ($975) and her score is 675. she seems like a better choice.

I would really really really appreciate any input!

Thank you

Applicant #2 seems a bit more stable to me. Did you check on their eviction history? The two most important factors for me in my market are income (2.5-3X rent) and no evictions in the past 5 years. If they've had evictions in the past, they are likely to do it again. Hope this helps

I check 4 main areas: credit report, court records (criminal & evictions), income, and land lord references.

I don't look for a specific credit score.  I look at what the report says.  Student loans and Medical are not major red flags, unless they are small (<$1000) and not being paid at all.  As long as they are making some effort towards paying what is owed, typically that satisfies me.  Collections and judgments are major red flags.  If they won't pay their utility bill, you risk property damage if they let the utilities get turned off during cold weather.  Generally, even though I don't look at scores specifically, I've found anyone below 540 has too many negatives pulling them down and I require either a double security deposit or a rock solid co-signers (lives in state, sufficient income to pay all their expenses plus the rent, owns real estate so isn't going to run off tomorrow, rock solid credit).

Criminal: no violent felony convictions.  No "pattern" of trouble with the law.  3 or more misdemenaors (except traffic tickets) in 5 years or less is NO GO.  Felonies must be at least 3 years old after completion of the sentence and a clean record since.  Prefer no evictions but will take a person with 1 eviction provided they have paid off or are currently paying off any money owed to former land lord.  I must be able to verify the payment(s).  I have other criteria too many to list here.

Income: minimum 3x the rent from garnisheable sources.  Disability, social security, and pension income is not garnisheable, so even if you take them to court you cannot collect.  Job must have at least 90 days work history.  No "job hoppers" (i.e. new job every year).  No "McJobs" that they will leave the minute they don't like the boss lecturing them for showing up late every other day.  Prefer something that requires training or a license to get because it shows they value that job and won't let go of it easily.

LL references.  Must have good current and past land lord refernce, or I require a co-signer or double security deposit.  I verify current land lord by doing an in-home inspection where they currently live.  Whatever their current home looks, smells, and sounds like is what your house will look, smell, and sound like 2 weeks after they move in.  Priceless information!  I've avoided a hoarder and a person with 3 pit bulls this way.  Moving in from out of town?  Call a local real estate office and offer the first board, starving floor duty agent $50 payable via PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo upon return of pictures and a short checklist.  Only do the in-home inspection AFTER all other areas are approved to avoid wasting time and money.

I'm not too thrilled by either of your applicants.  Insufficient, unstable, somewhat non-garnisheable income.  Bad credit.  Any references?

Spring is almost here and Govt Money Gimme Season....err, I mean Tax Refund season is upon us.  Better applicants will be moving starting early February as the Tax refund anticipation loans start getting issued.  If it were me, I'd wait.  Better a vacancy than a marginal or bad tenant!

According to the qualifications I use this would be a denial unfortunately.  Qualifications:


  1. All occupants over 18 yrs old must complete a rental application and are subject to all credit and criminal background screening.
  2. Income - All applicants must supply verifiable proof of income such as pay stubs, personal bank statements over the last 3 months, or retirement income.
  3. Rent to Income Ratio - Applicants must have income of at least 3  times the tenant paid rental income. 
  4. Guarantor’s income will not be accepted or considered.
  5. Guarantor's and co-signers will not be accepted or considered.
  6. Credit Screening - An Applicant with an unsatisfactory credit report will be denied.
  7. Bankruptcy, regardless of discharge, within the last 7 years will be grounds for denial.
  8. Rental housing debt, evictions, or collections will result in automatic denial of application.
  9. All applicants must have at least 12 months of verifiable and positive residency history immediately preceding application.
  10. All applicants will be screened for criminal history.
  11. All persons 18 and over intending to reside in the home must qualify in each of the above categories with the exception of the household combined income may be used to satisfy the rent to income earning ratio.

Originally posted by @Erik Whiting :


I'm not too thrilled by either of your applicants.  Insufficient, unstable, somewhat non-garnisheable income.  Bad credit.  Any references?

 What is so bad about the woman in her 40's? 

Originally posted by @Iaroslav Demydovych :

Finally after a week of having my property on a market i have 2 application and i can't see to pick one. Also, this is my first rental ever so wish me luck. So here is the scoop: the rent amount is $1275. 2.5 time the rent no criminal

applicant #1- older gentleman with his step daughter and 2 kids. gentleman has 3 different income.

income A - $400 from new paper delivery

income B - $1573 from disability

income C - $600 from pizza place

Credit score 634

Obviously he won't qualify by himself. His daughter works at best buy make $2000 per month which will not qualify her by herself either beside her score is 504 or something and 2 bills in collection ( red flag) . The girl just got out of a toxic relationship and moving in with the father. My worry is that the girl might split at any moment. together they make a lot over the 2.5 time the rent.

Applicant #2

Older lady in her early 40s no kids no husband. works as a nanny full time ($2800) and work part time as care giver to elderly ($975) and her score is 675. she seems like a better choice.

I would really really really appreciate any input!

Thank you

#2. Not even a question my friend. Nanny, care giver, only her living there. All things I like. 

 

Originally posted by @Shiva Bhaskar :
Originally posted by @Iaroslav Demydovych:

Finally after a week of having my property on a market i have 2 application and i can't see to pick one. Also, this is my first rental ever so wish me luck. So here is the scoop: the rent amount is $1275. 2.5 time the rent no criminal

applicant #1- older gentleman with his step daughter and 2 kids. gentleman has 3 different income.

income A - $400 from new paper delivery

income B - $1573 from disability

income C - $600 from pizza place

Credit score 634

Obviously he won't qualify by himself. His daughter works at best buy make $2000 per month which will not qualify her by herself either beside her score is 504 or something and 2 bills in collection ( red flag) . The girl just got out of a toxic relationship and moving in with the father. My worry is that the girl might split at any moment. together they make a lot over the 2.5 time the rent.

Applicant #2

Older lady in her early 40s no kids no husband. works as a nanny full time ($2800) and work part time as care giver to elderly ($975) and her score is 675. she seems like a better choice.

I would really really really appreciate any input!

Thank you

#2. Not even a question my friend. Nanny, care giver, only her living there. All things I like. 

 

 Totally agree - #2 is the better choice.

Now is she your best choice though? How come you only have 2 applicants?

If you're marketing the property correctly, you should have at least 5 applicants if not more.

You need to market the rental extensively through:

- Craigslist
- Facebook Marketplace
- asking existing tenants for referrals
- Zillow
- seeking out Property Managers managing other properties in the area (they might get calls from tenant prospects but they don't have any vacancies)
- put multiple signs (if allowed by your city) in busy intersections
- Apartments.com
- Rentalhouses.com
- Rent.com
- same thing with PM, call other landlords in the area
- GoSection8.com (once you get your units section 8 qualified)

Slim pickings...... why not more to choose from?
Did you get a lot of interest, but no showings.....lots of showings but few applicants?
Bad time of year for your area due to weather?

Between these 2...... no doubt #2....not even close.
#1 has more people, more kids and more jobs to just qualify...... one set back and they fall apart and you end up evicting them....way too unstable...... PASS

#2 is the better of the choices, single person-- much less wear/tear on the house. 

As a single person, she also has a lot less expenses/bills,  so you are more likely to get rent.     Seems clean cut, and no drama-- just make sure you can verify the income.

I am just curious why you even gave us option one to consider? Multiple red flags and not even worth considering. 

Also remember option #3 which is none of the above. Don't pick between applicants - keep searching until you find someone who is qualified. Have qualification standards and stick to them. 

That being said, #2 seems good.

@Iaroslav Demydovych I attach the qualifications on the first page of the application and have the applicant(s) initial.  The qualifications are essentially part of the application.  I leave the stack of applications on the kitchen counter.  If the applicant requests to apply online I email over the application (along with the qualification acknowledgment).  It is also important to to keep the qualifications consistent across the board.  This helps prevent any fair housing violation claims. 

I do not list the qualification on the actual listing though.  I want to have as large a pool of applicants as possible.  

@John Collins , I've never rented to a nanny, but unless she's being paid thru an agency/employer service, she's getting cash/check directly from the person for whom she works.  Garnishment would be almost impossible, given that her remaining wages wouldn't be enough where a court would authorize a levy.  I do not rent to people who I cannot garnishee.

But if I'm wrong and she's garnisheable, then I'd consider her assuming she met my other criteria.  675 credit is good.

Originally posted by @Erik Whiting :

I check 4 main areas: credit report, court records (criminal & evictions), income, and land lord references.

I don't look for a specific credit score.  I look at what the report says.  Student loans and Medical are not major red flags, unless they are small (<$1000) and not being paid at all.  As long as they are making some effort towards paying what is owed, typically that satisfies me.  Collections and judgments are major red flags.  If they won't pay their utility bill, you risk property damage if they let the utilities get turned off during cold weather.  Generally, even though I don't look at scores specifically, I've found anyone below 540 has too many negatives pulling them down and I require either a double security deposit or a rock solid co-signers (lives in state, sufficient income to pay all their expenses plus the rent, owns real estate so isn't going to run off tomorrow, rock solid credit).

Criminal: no violent felony convictions.  No "pattern" of trouble with the law.  3 or more misdemenaors (except traffic tickets) in 5 years or less is NO GO.  Felonies must be at least 3 years old after completion of the sentence and a clean record since.  Prefer no evictions but will take a person with 1 eviction provided they have paid off or are currently paying off any money owed to former land lord.  I must be able to verify the payment(s).  I have other criteria too many to list here.

Income: minimum 3x the rent from garnisheable sources.  Disability, social security, and pension income is not garnisheable, so even if you take them to court you cannot collect.  Job must have at least 90 days work history.  No "job hoppers" (i.e. new job every year).  No "McJobs" that they will leave the minute they don't like the boss lecturing them for showing up late every other day.  Prefer something that requires training or a license to get because it shows they value that job and won't let go of it easily.

LL references.  Must have good current and past land lord refernce, or I require a co-signer or double security deposit.  I verify current land lord by doing an in-home inspection where they currently live.  Whatever their current home looks, smells, and sounds like is what your house will look, smell, and sound like 2 weeks after they move in.  Priceless information!  I've avoided a hoarder and a person with 3 pit bulls this way.  Moving in from out of town?  Call a local real estate office and offer the first board, starving floor duty agent $50 payable via PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo upon return of pictures and a short checklist.  Only do the in-home inspection AFTER all other areas are approved to avoid wasting time and money.

I'm not too thrilled by either of your applicants.  Insufficient, unstable, somewhat non-garnisheable income.  Bad credit.  Any references?

Spring is almost here and Govt Money Gimme Season....err, I mean Tax Refund season is upon us.  Better applicants will be moving starting early February as the Tax refund anticipation loans start getting issued.  If it were me, I'd wait.  Better a vacancy than a marginal or bad tenant!

 Totally off-topic but what the hell are you talking about with "Govt Money Gimme Season"??? Tell me I am reading that wrong and you don't actually think tax refunds are the government giving people money...right??? Lets please have a laugh over this misunderstanding so I don't have to come over there and slap you upside the head - lol.

As far as the rest of your post, you are one strict dude when it comes to criteria!!! I could never do all that where I own - lol. Bravo.

Originally posted by @Iaroslav Demydovych :

Finally after a week of having my property on a market i have 2 application and i can't see to pick one. Also, this is my first rental ever so wish me luck. So here is the scoop: the rent amount is $1275. 2.5 time the rent no criminal

applicant #1- older gentleman with his step daughter and 2 kids. gentleman has 3 different income.

income A - $400 from new paper delivery

income B - $1573 from disability

income C - $600 from pizza place

Credit score 634

Obviously he won't qualify by himself. His daughter works at best buy make $2000 per month which will not qualify her by herself either beside her score is 504 or something and 2 bills in collection ( red flag) . The girl just got out of a toxic relationship and moving in with the father. My worry is that the girl might split at any moment. together they make a lot over the 2.5 time the rent.

Applicant #2

Older lady in her early 40s no kids no husband. works as a nanny full time ($2800) and work part time as care giver to elderly ($975) and her score is 675. she seems like a better choice.

I would really really really appreciate any input!

Thank you

Where I own, I wouldn't have any applicants if I had super strict criteria! So what do I do??? Month to month baby! I check for evictions and do what I can to verify income, and even that's a tough one. People lie and make up stuff and will tell you everything you want to hear. Landlords lie too - they have to if they want to get rid of a bad tenant. My peeps don't even have bank accounts most of the time, so a credit score is meaningless.

I find meeting people in person is invaluable, but definitely not infallible. Ever been evicted? Got unpaid judgments? Those are the two things I can look up from a third party trusted source and, they are the most telling - both speak volumes about who a person is and how they operate. Anyone who lets a situation get so bad they have an eviction has got to make you wonder, considering zero landlords enjoy taking people to court and usually give people a million chances to just move out if they can't pay. An unpaid judgement might not be a deal-breaker, but pretty much. Believe it or not, I actually don't worry about criminal convictions, unless it's for fraud or theft or something like that. People make mistakes, they pay their price, and usually people change - if not, they are usually back in prison in short order!!! Obviously a person with a long list of convictions is a no-go, but they usually have the girlfriend or grandma apply anyways and will move in without your consent - lol.

But back to the main point - month to month. I'll know in short order what sort of person I have and I can get rid of them in short order too if I need to. The other truth I've found, despite stating earlier I like to meet people, is that many times people I thought would be great were bad and people I thought would be bad were great!!!

My criteria are these:

Pay me in full and on time 

Do not tear my place up

Do not disturb the neighborhood

After that I don't care who anyone is, what they do for a living (or not), or whatever other silly nonsense I could care to judge a person by. My job is to be a decent landlord and their job is to be a decent tenant - end of story.

O, almost forgot. The one thing I do require is they show me a picture ID - AND THEN I VERIFY THE NAME ON THE APPLICATION MATCHES EXACTLY AS IT READS ON THE ID!!!!!!! Don't fall for that one - you'd be surprised what a single letter on a name or digit on a date of birth can do to a records check - that's an old-school con-man trick and if someone can't remember how to spell their own name or what their birthday is, it's a hard pass for me.

Both your applicants are borderline in terms of income with a rent that high. Are you sure your rent is not too high? Where are all the people in your market that can afford that and why are they not applying? Then again it's January.

All landlords eventually develop their own criteria that works and they are comfortable with.

Good Luck!

 

@Michael Ealy I have advertised on MP Zillow realtor.com and hotpat. It seems like I get enough of attention just last night I had 9 people go thru and no application. Perhaps I’m over priced? Or it’s the weather

Here is the link to my listing. Maybe I’m doing something wrong here🤦‍♂️

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2672-Bantam-Ln-2672-Lancaster-PA-17601/2082018750_zpid/

@Iaroslav Demydovych

Looked at your listing, I'll be damned if you don't get some serious bang for your buck out in Lancaster. But from what renjungle.com tells me, average rent over there is well below $1275. You may be overpriced for your market, but I am far from a quality source to tell you that.

Taking Applicant No. 2 would be a no-brainer for me. You probably already know this, but elderly caregiver in PA means she has federal and state child abuse and criminal clearances. That's half your local screening done already, if you do check local records.

Lady working +/- 60 hrs a week (as indicated) at that age with a credit score of 600+ is never going to buy a house. She's looking for daddy landlord to take care of her housing situation for the rest of her life. That's probably your last turnover in that property for the next twenty-five years if you play your cards right and don't decide you can do better.

Originally posted by @Erik Whiting :

@John Collins, I've never rented to a nanny, but unless she's being paid thru an agency/employer service, she's getting cash/check directly from the person for whom she works.  Garnishment would be almost impossible, given that her remaining wages wouldn't be enough where a court would authorize a levy.  I do not rent to people who I cannot garnishee.

But if I'm wrong and she's garnisheable, then I'd consider her assuming she met my other criteria.  675 credit is good.

I think you're looking at it too technically. She's got great credit for the income level, does a humanity related job and has no baggage whatsoever. The only question is if she ends up moving in with a bf or husband later on, but as things stand, I think it's as good as you can hope for in this neighborhood. I can't agree with discriminating less than ideal candidates who don't have shining resumes and long winding corporate careers if they have shown financial prudence and no criminal or irresponsible activity. I think she's earned the right to stay in a slightly nicer place than whatever hardline rules you guys have for income levels. 

#2 all the way.  

One of the things I learned, is that newly separated or people going through divorce = drama and short tenancies.  Often the ex comes around and there are screaming fights, and they almost always move out within months to move back in with the ex.  So, I learned that if I could legally deny them, I would.  

Otherwise, I agree with the other reasons already mentioned to avoid #1.

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