Rental Basics in Richmond>Question Details

Shannon, Both Buyer and Seller in Richmond, VA

In screening tenants, what should be a red flag on a credit check?? Only outstanding info concerning housing? Credit scores??

Asked by Shannon, Richmond, VA Tue Feb 23, 2010

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I agree with Raven. Folks with good credit are going to buy something, especially in these times. I do look at the credit, however, to see a couple of things.

Do they have a lot of recent inquiries? In other words - are they looking to spend money?- furniture,cell phones, appliances and other consumer goods-- many folks are life time renters 'cause they are addicted to "stuff." I can understand a family having a hardship, but for the credit to be damaged b/c they make bad choices about what to do with their money....those are the folks I will be seeing in court- so I don't usually rent to them.

Debt ratio- same concept.

Age of bad credit-- old ways now reformed?

I tell my applicants straight up b/f they apply - what is your credit going to show? If you just don't pay your bills, don't apply. If you have issues, write an explaination letter- any kind of hardship, I let the Owner decide= we might ask for a 1.5-2 month depost. That gives us time to file for posses in case of default.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 23, 2010

The best way to screen tenants is to screen them equally the same. I never rent to someone who has bad credit. I let them know that up front. They must provide me with a complete credit report that is clean with no red flags. This is for each person on the lease, as I do not allow anyone who has bad credit to be on the lease either Also remember that you should always check out their references to make sure that what they are stating on the application is correct. I have never had a problem with a tenant. I attribute that to renting to only tenants with good credit. Most landlords cannot afford to have a tenant not pay and personally, I am one of them. It is not so easy to remove a tenant from the house once they fail to pay their rent. Also, it takes a lot of time and money to get the house ready, once again, for another tenant after they have moved out. Of course you may not rent the house out to the first person who sees it, but when you do find a tenant, you can be relatively assured that they will pay on time, unless of course, there is an unforeseen misfortune, which no one can control.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 27, 2010
Credit Scores are certainly a consideration; however I would check for Summary Processes and Evictions. Occasionally, you will find an individual without good FICO scores due to the current state of affairs, yet many of these individuals do very well with rent payment.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 23, 2010
Job stability is a big factor right now. Find out how long they have been in their current position and check references of their past landlords. It is not just whether they can afford-it is also whether they will maintain and take care of the property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 23, 2010
Credit scores should not be a large part of you determining if a tenant is reliable. Most people that have great credit are purchasing homes. I would look into the person's rental history, job stability, and if they have judgements that may garnish their wages etc. Anything that will affect their ability to pay your rent. You could also ask if it could be paid directly from their paycheck. I had a tenant that had their rent payments automatically deposited into our checking account when they got paid. Hope this helps...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 23, 2010
The credit report is only ONE tool in determining tenant viability.

REFERENCES are very important as well. Ask for them and Call them!

Credit score is a good first reference. If the score is low - you need to find out why.

Even with great credit scores - references are very important!

Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 23, 2010
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