Rental Basics in 08810>Question Details

SN, Home Buyer in New Jersey

Rent my place to someone who has 510 credit score??

Asked by SN, New Jersey Wed Jan 14, 2009

I want to know is it safe to rent my house to a couple (not legally married) where the guys score is 510 but the girls score is 635 and both of them will be included in the lease. They have fairly stable jobs.

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The way I see people who say renters need a high credit score to be "worthy" are not very realistic. If the renter had a decent score and had not fallen on hard times in the past...they would not be RENTERS they would be BUYERS. Who really wants to throw $1000 ++ a month into someone's pocket for something they cannot call "their own". But the sad thing is that Landlords do base decisions on credit scores and do not look at the past 5 years of perfect rental history or perfect job history. This leaves good people out in the cold who would have taken care of the home and never been late with their rent.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 14, 2011
I like how you think, but that's not always the case. Renters are more "liquid", they can move when the lease is up (or before if the lease permits), they don't have to wait for a sale. As a renter, repair issues are fixed with a phone call, email, or text and are usually covered by your rent payment. Credit scores are simply indicators - I believe any landlord going solely off credit score is probably excluding some good and some bad potential tenants - like everything in life, it's all subjective and you have to figure out where you draw your line. Landlording isn't always as fun and profitable as most think - after you pay mortgage payment, property taxes, homeowners insurance, management fees, sock away money for capital expenditures, regular maintenance, and vacancy costs, there's not a huge pot of gold left. You also have to be ready for emergency phone calls at all hours, you have to find a good handyman and hope they don't disappear or do sub-par work or rip you off.
Flag Tue May 19, 2015
We have a tenant who had a foreclosure, and has now rented for 3 years, never once a day late. The tenant takes excellent care of the property. It's neat as a pin, and they do basic maintenance themselves.

I think you have to evaluate the total application including references, stability in job and prior residences and credit scores. If you see weaknesses across the board, be wary. If you see overall strength, consider the application. Only you can make a final decision after a comprehensive review.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 22, 2009
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
Although Marc has some valid points- The economy has changed several homeowners have lost there homes..and obviously there credit score changes drastically...Where do they go???? Well where else, they rent! Its unfortunate to have to be in that situation but they need to live some place!

I would say make sure they have a secure job and are able to give you the 1 1/2 months security + one month advance. Once they miss one months rent file for an evictiion immediately(it should take about 2 to 3 months to get them out!) as for the 700 credit score it doesn't mean anything if they don't have a job!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 20, 2009
Totally Agree with you Michelle.
Flag Thu Mar 31, 2016
I would not rent to anyone with a 510 score, regardless of the partner's 635 score. 510 means you don't pay your bills on time. At all. And even 635 is not all that great.

I am not interested in excuses or hard luck stories. Not in New Jersey, where the state is against landlords and against business.

As far as I am concerned, it's 700 or you don't rent my apartment. And that is very realistic. There are plenty of people who pay their bills that are looking for apartments. I would hold out and would rather keep an apartment vacant then face the incredible difficult process of evicting in a landlord-phobic state like NJ.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 11, 2013
This guy is just a elitest jerk, don't mind him. A lot of people will rent to people with bad credit.
Flag Mon Jun 27, 2016
Credit should not determine a person, LIFE happens to the BEST of us it does not mean "you dont want to pay your bills" theres plenty of people who have had stable income, always paid there bills on time and have lost their jobs not by choice, so thats very ignorant for someone not to rent to someone who has a low credit score. Everyone deserves a home to live in bad credit or good credit. God bless.
Flag Mon Jan 11, 2016
Flag Mon Jan 11, 2016
It's attitudes like this which dictate the terrible state of society today. Congratulations, you sound like a complete knob
Flag Wed Aug 7, 2013
I agree with Michelle, as I previousely pointed out the high credit score does not insure they will pay you or keep your property in good conditions. References are important. Below is the pdf of New Jersey responsibilities for landlord and tenant. Please open the link and review. Hope this helps you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 20, 2009
There is more to look at than credit score, check with their current landlord for one, job history and look at their credit report, first see if they are paying there car on time. without a car they cant get to work. if they cant keep that up they cant pay rent.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 14, 2009
Can I rent a house/apartment if I have filed bankruptcy and foreclosure on my house?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 19, 2016
Hello SN,

Just let us know what did you do in renting your place.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 1, 2015
High credit score doesn't guarantee good tenant and neither bad credit score means you should absolutely deny it. However, if you have a choice, why not pick one with good credit score. It's not only about financial situation, but also demonstrate a discipline which might help later keeping good landlord-tenant business. If that doesn't help much, listen to your inner voice and see if after meeting one, do you feel you should be renting to the individual regardless of the score?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2015
I Have a question? So what if there credit score was higher, legally married and meet your standards and they turn out to be horrible tentants and tear your house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 21, 2014
And what is your point? That anyone can be a bad tenant? Sure. I agree.... but, the 500 credit score which is a documented history of NOT paying their bills.... in all probabllity is the bigger risk.
Flag Fri Feb 21, 2014
its that kind of thinkkng that makes it nearly impossible to build a good credit score.. im early 20s make very good money for someone my age 72,000/year. A couple years ago I went to buy a new car had a good down payment, was trading in the current car to add to the down payment, and could easily afford the monthly payment (not lease, actual payment)/ mantience/ high insurance amd everything else that came along with getting brand new cars of the lot BUT we ran my credit it was zero not good not bad just zero, and was denied the loan unless I could get a co signer, i was lucky enough to have one. i dont have credit cards i have nothing past due in collections any of that but was being told thats just as bad as having the all horrible 500 credit score. so how about instead of being so crazy and judgemental about loping everyone into the same category we idk try asking for more references at least 1 or 2 being from previous landlords, ask for income verification, ask for a written out budget and at least two reliable answers to a question like if this and this where to happen what pre cautions are you taking to be sure you can pay rent and other expenses every. month on time? is there anyone who would help you if a personal financial crisis happened? or maybe talk to the actual renters?!!!? "you know i got your guys credit scores back i was a little apprehensive when i found out they were as high as i am typically comfortable with other tenants. did something happen and you fell behind?etc.." then check their story! you guys are right about one thing theyre are plenty of renters out there but to disqualify someone based on a number when you dont know the whole story is foul and unlike the other guy i pray you do fall on financial hardship and get a landlord like yourself, get a taste of your own medicine. what if this guy was a victim of identity theft and hes working to rebuild his credit? but you probably just didnt think about it frm different points of view. but thats not suprising
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 20, 2014
John Sacktig, that's one person. Not EVERYONE is like that. Getting suckered into a bad landlord-tenant relationship can and usually does happen, but with the way things are right now, people are getting desperate because people need a place to stay, rent is increasing rapidly beyond mosts affordability, and credit is still a determining factor. See it from a NORMAL renter's point of view. The woman you have staying in your condo sounds irresponsible and would probably do the same thing regardless of the economy, but many renters simply have a hard time convincing landlords nowadays that they are worthy tenants because landlords are getting way too outrageous with their requirements. Everyone who has means needs a place to live. The more landlords run prospective tenants away, the more people will start bunking up with family members who are homeowners and landlords will find themselves in deep doo-doo. It's already happening.
Flag Sat May 3, 2014
she brought in a pitbull, got a lawyer in once my landlord started eviction process.. cried like a little girl for the judge who let her stay an additional 4 months to get on her feet.. rent free… and she laughed and became a witch again outside the court house. Said if he came near the condo she would let the dog out on him.

He should have refused to rent to her because of her bad credit. What do you think?
Flag Thu Feb 20, 2014
For whining on the 5 year old post.. everyone has a story, everyone has a reason. Sorry to rain on your parade, but from a landlord standpoint 80% turn out to be bad bets. 50% risk of letting that person with the story into their property does not pay after the first month. Has kids, gets a lawyer and stays in the rental for a year not paying rent, not cleaning, peeing on the floor, not caring about the property and then leaves in the middle of the night.. and the landlord is stuck.

So, there needs to be a barometer for the bad credit excuse. I have a great landlord that I sold a condo to. He rented to this girl.. she lied so nicely. She was so nice, bad credit was an accident, caused by the 1% on this poor struggling single mom. He fell for it. Me too. Now we can’t get the witch out of the unit and her three kids, ( she told us one child) along with her mother and boyfriend… has not paid rent in 8 months,
Flag Thu Feb 20, 2014
NOOOOOO....Never. I only rent out to people with a minimum 680 credit score, 10 years consistent employment and a clean criminal history. That means even no misdeamenors like possiesion of small quanties of marijuana or jumping a subway turnstile their whole life. I have rented three rental properties in the past with no issues for the last 15 years and I have had no complaints and receive all my checks right on time every month. If you are that hard up to find a renter try triple net lease. They will take all the risk and you just have to put up the investment capital.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 11, 2013
Mr. Marc Paolella you Sir are the type of person whom destroys our society putting stigmas and numbers above peoples' head to judge them. May you pray to God that hard times never find you and your more than holy credit score does not fall below 700.
For me I was in an almost fatal motorcycle accident in 2008. I was unable to work for 2 years because of a broken back and 3rd degree burns. Of coarse my credit score hit rock bottom because of my unability to pay bills. Now in 2011 I have been paying all my old debts and am never late on ANY payment. My credit score is only 547. I currently have 2 jobs; a public school administrator during the day and a college supervisor during the night. Am I UNWORTHY to you Mr. Paolella? My household income is $130,000 but my score is below your 700 mark. According to you, where should I live? In a storm-drain? A cardboard box? Huh? Things happen Mr.Paolella, it doesnt mean we are not trustworthy. I Sir, do not believe you are trustworthy, not being able to spark and ounce of hope or trust in our American people who fall below the dreaded 700 making generalizations upon peoples lives from occurances you know nothing about.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
Yes, agree 100% with this approach. Great income, bad credit makes a great tenant if the explanation of the bad credit is sensible. Great credit, bad income, still not bad though I would try to understand deeper as to what is the their debt to credit ratio. However, bad credit, bad income, no way...
Flag Sun Feb 21, 2016
By the way to add to my comments, I did not mean to say I would rent to the people you mention either. Here the Tenant pays the commission and extra security woul probably be a must. The ability to pay regularly is important. The 510 score for sure is a problem but there "could be" just cause and needs thorough investigation!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 15, 2011
Great answers here by my colleagues! It is not just credit score as this is a people business. Correct that adverse credit may be limitied to one setback and should be taken into consideration. Find that many Landlords have the opinion that they want the perfect tenant with 800 credit. Have had numerous complaints made by tenants after they move in that the demanding Landlord is not exactly a model citizen either! This is a people businss and the interview and references are way more important in my opinion! Best of Luck, Allan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 15, 2011
Hi there, I would add that a letter of reference from their current landlord that speaks to consistent and ontime rent payment would be helpful. If that contact is included among references that you can speak with as well all the better.

Your concern is the consistency and timing of payment - as others have pointed out they may well be a good renter that has had a bad break - your job is to do your due diligence to get your arms around it best as you can. This is important work to do up front, because the law favors tenants, once they are in, as others have pointed out, it can be tough - and time consuming - to get them out.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 15, 2011

It really depends on the individual tenants. There are lots and lots of possibilities. I would suggest that as long as the Tenants appear to keep your house clean and pay you on time (at least and until they have their jobs), you should be okay.
Besides, One thing which all landlord should understand is that there are four types of tenants who would be looking for an individual home to rent other than the rental apartments:
Ones with pets
Ones with low credit score
Ones who wants to sign Month to Month lease
Ones who needs bigger space to rent

If they had excellent credit , they might as well rent the Rental Apartments.
Low credit score does not mean Bad Tenants. These are some risks you take when you rent.

Call me for more discussions.

Vishal Maher
Cell# 732-277-9321.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 20, 2009
FYI-The Average credit score in NJ as per is is 693.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 20, 2009
The poster does not sound like a professional landlord. My advice stands. 700 scores are an absolute must, and are a good indicator of the tenants ability and willingness to pay their bills.

There are no stable jobs right now, everything is up in the air. Checking employment is not enough. The poster should protect herself to the best of her ability. Insisting on a 700 plus FICO is one way to do that.

I would want:

1. 700 FICO scores for everyone on the lease.
2. 3 year stable job history for everyone on the lease.
3. Satisfactory references from past landlords.

Period. Over and out.

This is business, not charity. The laws in this state already unfairly penalize landlords and favor tenants who default on their rent.

While a 700 FICO is not a guarantee, it IS A VALID INDICATOR, and the best statistic available to make an informed determination.

Swapna, do not deel bad about being tough on potential tenants. If they get in and they are not qualified, believe me, they will make it tough on you when you try to evict them in this state.

I was just thinking, instead of long or even moderate term leases, I might go with a revolving 3 month lease with options to renew cancellable by either party with 30 days written notice. Not sure if that would pass legal muster, but I'd look into it.

Amateur landlords cannot do enough to protect themselves at the moment.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 20, 2009
Those are low scores and the advice given below is good. Something else to consider--since they are not married, what happens if the one with the credit score decides to call it quits--then you are left with the 510 score tenant to pay the rent (without the financial help of the 635 score!)
I would say be patient. You should be able to find better tenants. It is better to wait for them than to have to evict bad tenants for non paymentof rent.
By the way, if you don't already have it, get a copy of "truth in renting" Being a NJ landlord is complicated by knowing the landlord/tenant rules. The state favors the rights of the tenants in most circumstances. You can contact me via Trulia or my website, if you need a copy.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 20, 2009
I am answering from a personal perspective.

No. Find another couple / Tenant.

If you have the credit report, see how many times and how late the bills are. Really late? then guess what.. When rent time comes.. late.. and then really late.. then frustration. But if you feel that you need to provide a serivice and just want to get it rented.. go ahead.

As Realtor, I also take rentals ( landlord pays commission ) I list them and due to my networking.. I have all kinds of people ask me to help them rent apartments and homes.. I only get my clients tenants with 700 or better and jobs. Sorry, if it sounds bad, but my client's business interests come first. I have techniques that find great tenants. And no, I am not sharing how I get my tenants.... :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 15, 2009
Hi Swapna,

Also, a professional landlord/investor can afford to take a risk on someone with a lower than average score. Because he has the resources to deal with a bad tenant experience should it occur.

However, on the other hand, if you are renting your only house, and you are not in the business of dealing with tenant problems on a day-to-day basis, then I would require 700 FICO scores period. It's not a difficult decision. There are plenty of tenants who have this kind of score.

I would not pay attention to anecdotal presentations of low FICO people paying on time and high FICO people trashing the property. Yes there are occasional exceptions when you are dealing with human beings. But FICO scores are the most reliable method known of assessing the odds of getting the rent on time.

By the way, a stable job history is not a great indicator of a person's payment habits. Many people who hold jobs don't pay the bills on time. A low FICO score will reveal that type of person.

Requiring a high score will not eliminate the risk. But it will minimize it. Most people with FICO's in excess of 700 CARE about their credit score and make sure they pay their bills on time.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 15, 2009
Good morning Swapna,

It is a difficult task making a decision on accepting a tenant or not, I agree. I have rented to tenants with excellent credit, but they were literally slobs and did not take good care of the premises and rented to people with low scores that improved the place. It is alwasy a risk. Regarding credit scores, as previously mentioned look at the report, see if they pay on time, the score could be low because of debt ratio to credit limit, there could be a short period of time they got behind due to illness or another reasonable explanation and are up to date on things now. Call and.question the last two landlords if possible, the most recent may give you a good report to get rid of them as tenants. You stated "fairly stabe" call to verify employment to see how long they are employed. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 15, 2009
I have rented to persons with low credit scores on serveral occaisions. I checked their references, pervious landlord and employment. Perhaps I was lucky, but I never had a problem.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 14, 2009
Hi Swapna,

I would absolutely not rent out a house to a couple with those credit scores. 635 is not all that good to begin with. 510 is someone who habitually fails to pay their bills.

Credit scores are very reliable indicators of ability and propensity to pay bills on time. I wouldn't try to look past them or into them or try to justify them. They are what they are.

I would want a minimum of 700 for both parties before I would rent out a house to them. You only get to make this decision once. You don't want to blow it.


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 14, 2009
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