I have two applicants. I like both, have run background checks, and there are no red flags.
Candidate 1: financially a little better off, and I believe will treat the house very well. Due to their family situation I'm pretty sure they will move out after 1 year. They have a bankruptcy from 2008, from a failed business. They are current on all bills.
Candidate 2: Rent will be tight based on their income. Current landlord wants the house for a family member, so the candidate needs to find a new place. I believe they will take care of the house and stay long term-several years. Current landlord was very positive about renter, never had problems with rent. However my rent is 30% higher (my house is a definite step up from the home they are currently renting)
So my options are short term ( only one year), but I'm sure for that year they will be great renters. Or, long term renter, but one who will have to be careful with their budget to pay rent.
Who would you rent to?
I would be reluctant to trust the current landlord of #2 really has a family member moving in the rental, could be a good excuse to get you to take his problem tenant off his hands. And you said it will be tight so I assume that means they don't have 2.5 or 3x the rent so I would go with #1.
I like to sleep easy at night and not worry about things. One year of solid on time rent payments may be worth considering vice several years of will they pay on time.
I would want to go with the longer term potential, turnovers are expensive even with solid tenants. I would try to find out more about the second applicant, like contacting the prior addresses on the credit report to see if a non-biased landlord can be reached. Sometimes I have asked an applicant to write down a budget for me to see how they plant o cover the increased costs. If they have a game plan they are more likely to be able to afford it. Will utilities be higher too, or just base rent? Do they have a compelling reason to look for better, not just desperate to find a new place on their timeline?
First, do both applicants qualify according to your unbiased, predetermined, rental criteria? Then go with the one that is most likely going to give you a longer tenancy. Ditto what @Michele Fischer says. Also, you can't really know how either will take care of your property. Talk with them about how they would approach taking care of their home. What do they value? If you can, look at their current residence.
With prospective tenants, it's usually the prior landlord (versus the current landlord) that has more to say and a more practical picture of their rental payment history in my experience.
Best of luck!
Have you considered taking more applications? Number 1 sounds good...but....if they plan on moving out after a year...that will more than likely cost you. Tenant #2 sounds a bit questionable. If you have time, consider advertising it a bit longer and getting a larger pool of prospects.
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