Wondering what makes a good tenant? Many people assume that a landlord just cares about the rent money, and will take any candidate who has enough money to pay rent and security deposit before moving in. And at first glance, maybe all prospective tenants are the same, as long as they have the required money. In fact, some people might think that investigating a tenant’s background more is discrimination. But it isn’t, not at all.
Most landlords want to know about your criminal history, your current job (and pay), your credit score and whether you have ever been evicted from a rental property. Ultimately, a landlord wants to know two important things: Will you pay the rent on time, and will you take good care of their house? Doing their research will tell the landlord if a candidate is likely to do those two things.
How much money a candidate makes is obviously important. If they don’t make enough money to pay the rent and other living expenses, the tenant/landlord relationship is likely to end poorly. If the candidate just started this job, how does the landlord know if the job will last? It’s tough for anyone to pay the rent when they’re unemployed.
Criminal record and credit score are two things that tell a landlord how responsible the tenant is. Do they make good decisions in their life? Sure, people make mistakes, and one minor slip-up is probably not going to be a problem. But repeated arrests or late payments tell the landlord that the candidate is high risk.
When a tenant is evicted, he/she is warned far in advance. It’s never a surprise. If a tenant has let it go so long that the case goes to court, he/she has shown a willingness to fight a landlord to the bitter end, even after being told it’s time to go. Most landlords don’t want to rent to someone who has ever done this before. This even includes situations where a candidate has simply co-signed a lease. Don’t ever get to a point where eviction is on the table!
Once a tenant is in the property, paying rent on time is obviously important. But not any less important is how well he/she takes care of the house. A good tenant keeps the property clean, both inside and out, and knows when to call the landlord for maintenance. Calling too often can be just as problematic as not calling enough. Knowing that sweet spot makes for a good tenant.