Additional Tenant Screening?

2 Replies

We have an application from a potential tenant- a woman living with her adult special needs son. 

She has 3.5x verified monthly income, 680 credit score, but no rental history, since she has been living in a house she owns outright for the past 20 or so years. She says she wants to move since the neighborhood she lives in now has seen an increase in crime in recent years (her address verifies this, property records also show her as owner of the house with no outstanding issues over the years).

FWIW, there don't seem to be any red flags- she seems lovely and has submitted everything we've asked for. We're just relatively new landlords and don't want to make a mistake. Would you do any additional screening on this tenant to account for the lack of rental history?

What you should take into consideration is the picture as a whole. Homeownership for 20 years along with a decent credit score are pretty solid indicators of responsibility and an ability to pay rent. Were you to take out of the picture the good credit score or the 3.5x verified monthly income, then you'd have cause for concern. Owning a home for 20+ years is an accomplishment, and it's a shame that her neighborhood got to the point that she didn't feel safe living there anymore.

At most, what I would ask her is why it is that, after 20 years of ownership, she's going toward rental rather than buying another house. But you definitely want to tread carefully. Maybe she just wants to have extra money in her pocket for very personal reasons. 

It's understandable that you don't want to make a mistake but personally, she sounds like a pretty solid tenant to me. I hasten to add that a great-on-paper tenant could turn out to be a nightmare, but I would let her rent one of my units, and I have decently high qualifying criteria.

I wish you the best of luck in your tenant hunt and hope that whatever choice you make works out in your best interest.

Per the information you shared she seems to be a great prospective tenant. It appears you did a good job with screening and as a PM I would likely move forward with renting to her. No matter how much we screen, we are never 100% sure that a tenant will be perfect.