Why do tenants that look at my property seem under qualified?

The fact is, about 30% of tenants are problematic.  They move a lot more than average.  They are evicted, they are requested to move, and their lease is not renewed.  If 30% are problematic, and they move twice as often as a solid renter, that is 60% of the renters that you see seem like they do not qualify to live in your rental.

Solid renters do not move unless they have to.  Typically it is because of their jobs, a shoddy apartment or crime in their current location, moving up to the next level of housing, or a landlord that does not maintain the property.  It is expensive to move.  Tenants do not like to move.

If you look at past addresses on a credit report, you can see how many addresses the tenants have lived in over the past several years.  If it is more than two addresses in five years, you have a potential problem on your hands.

Never rely on the most recent landlord’s assessment of the tenant.  A problem tenant may get a glowing reference, just to save the current landlord an eviction expense.  Always call the current owner of the property where the tenant said they live.  The owners name can be found on the tax records of the property.  It should be the same address as on the credit report.

If you are using the application information to contact the past landlord, you may be contacting a relative of the applicant, not the land owner.  That is a typical ‘trick’ of problem tenants.  Always contact the owner of the address on the credit report, which is what a solid screening service does.

A fact that I have pointed out often is this.  The average credit score of a renter is 658.  It is proven true with my own complex applicants, with an almost identical number.  Any tenant with less than a 658 credit score is below average.

If you settle for below average tenants, and you have at least an average location, you are cheating yourself of profitability.

 Are you a qualified renter? How often do you move? As a landlord, have you ever wondered this?

6 Replies to “Why do tenants that look at my property seem under qualified?”

  1. I’m an excellent tenant and am now living in my 5th rental property in about 7 years. First property was a relatively nice 3/2 apartment in a large complex for my family of 3 (new baby). After about two years and another child we decided to move to a rental house to have some more privacy and room. The landlord at this property had one handyman trying to deal with 30 properties and was not that responsive. I had several months of military training out of state for the National Guard and decided to move my family there since our lease was then month to month. We rented another 3/2 apartment in a nice large complex but with three young kids it was pretty tight. Upon moving back we found another 3/2 rental house that was closer to my work but more expensive – plus it had a large backyard for my kids. We signed a two year lease but by the end of the lease had multiple bad experiences with the management company (had to take them to small claims court after waiting months for them to repair/replace a large section of fence that had fallen down) and decided we needed to move. At this point we had four kids and were looking for a four bedroom rental house. I posted an ad on Craigslist indicating my credit score (750+) income ($60,000) and desire to rent for a couple more years while we save to buy a home. Was very lucky in finding a local landlord who really cares about the property and has been very responsive to maintenance issues (roof leaks). Now we have a larger house and lower rent – win win.

  2. We are military. Have lived in 2 houses in the last 5 years.
    We also have 2 rental properties of our own (courtesy of Uncle Sam sending us elsewhere). Because of the economy, we are upside down in the properties and can not sell them (well, not without a huge loss). As is, $400 of our personal funds go to the mortgages every month.

    Due to our inability to contribute to our savings for a cushion, having tenants move out (typical costs associated with it), having a couple tenants who left the properties needing a lot of work, and unforeseen expenses (A/C work, pool issies) our previous great credit ratings (750’s) just 5 years ago are now around 635, including a foreclosure that we were able to stop (without any special conditions from the bank or help otherwise).

    It is likely we are looking at another move in the next 10-12 months. We have never been late on rent to our landlords, often fix small things ourselves, have been understanding in delays to fix things we could not undertake) and our last landlord said it was rare to see a home left as clean and in as good of condition as we had left the house.

    Besides doing everything we can to improve our credit scores between now and then, and trying to save for a double deposit (not likely to happen), what would be your suggestions for us? Would you rent to us if we could provide proof that our rent absolutely comes first?

    1. Thank you for reading!

      The average renter credit score is ~658. I require at least a 625. I like tenants that have owned homes, and used to have a great credit score. The tenants that never have had a good score are the problems. Good people have issues, but will bounce back. The lower quality ones will never get out of the rut.

      Be sure to get a secured Visa card if you cannot get a regular visa card. Paying CC payments, on time, always helps the scores.

  3. If you looked at my past 5 years of rental history, you would see at least 6 different addresses in 4 different states (OH, CO, CT, NC). However my now-husband and I both have stellar credit scores, and all previous landlords would tell you we never missed a payment, took great care of our places, and left them immaculately clean. Our jobs just took us all over until we found our settle down home. I think the credit score is more important than the addresses, as nowadays people have to go where the jobs are…

    1. Thank you for reading.

      Credit score is the most important. Many addresses, especially in the same area, would indicate that there may be a problem. Often people move across the street, or just to a different apartment complex in the same city. That is a larger red flag than moving to a different state.

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