A landlord asks how important is a prospective tenant’s credit score as the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and he is not offering legal advice. If you have a question for him please fill out the form below.
Dear Landlord Hank:
I have been a property owner/manager for last 20-plus years. I could write a book on the mistakes I have made! Such as thinking you’re a good judge of people? You got to do the work, you can’t be lazy.
I can’t get the property management company to answer any questions about a certain tenant. I do not believe the person I talked to and was given as a reference was legit. Do you place much value in credit checks? I have found that older people who rent often have bad credit. I honestly wouldn’t have any tenants if I used their credit as a no-go. Thanks for your feedback, Hank.
Dear Landlord Paul,
I’m working in a vacation destination so we have a very strong rental market, but I also have many years of experience in a major metropolitan area in Georgia.
We are able to ask and get first, last and security deposit up front. We also require at least three times the rent in gross income, at least a 650 FICO score, clean background and good rental history.
We try to get at least five years’ prior residential history so we know we have a good quality tenant we can count on. In my opinion, good credit is very important as a factor to be considered in a tenant. Sometimes there are good reasons why someone’s credit is less than desirable, such as a bad divorce, etc., but those must be balanced with good income, rental history and clean background.
If someone has poor credit, sometimes we obtain an extra last month’s rent up front, just in case. I’ve made my share of mistakes in this business too, but if we learn from our mistakes we are ahead of the game. I’d rather hold out for a good tenant than take someone iffy. Best of luck!
Each week I answer questions from landlords and property managers across the country in my “Dear Landlord Hank” blog in the digital magazine Rental Housing Journal. https://rentalhousingjournal.com/asklandlordhank/
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