3 Reasons to Reject a Prospective Tenant’s Application
When you’re the owner of a rental property, it’s exciting to receive your prospective tenants’ online rental application. It means your investment will soon profit, but don’t think all renters will be good tenants. Sometimes, you’ll get a bad apple or two.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s better to have bad tenants than no tenants at all. Destructive tenants will cost you more than leaving the property vacant, and it’s a headache far from worthwhile.
There are many legitimate reasons to reject a tenant’s application. Here are three of the most prominent.
No Proof of Income or a Bad Reputation
A standard rental application requires that the prospective tenant offer sufficient proof of income to show they can pay their rent. As a rule of thumb, the cost of rent shouldn’t exceed 35 percent of their gross monthly income. This ensures that they’ll be able to pay the rent when it comes due.
It’s also important that you ask for several references to get a good idea of the kind of tenant you’ll have. Upon contacting these references, you’ll learn if they paid their rent on time, how they left the property, and if they gave previous landlords trouble.
If a prospective tenant refuses to provide references, take that as a sign that their previous landlord wasn’t happy with them. It’s best to move on to the next applicant.
Bad Credit or Background Check
Another standard aspect of the rental application is to do a credit and background check. You can learn a lot about a person through these essential studies.
A credit check will reveal the tenant’s financial history. If they have outstanding debts or a low credit score (below 650), strongly consider turning them away. A tenant overcome with unpaid debts will have a hard time meeting rental obligations, even if those debts are not connected to housing in any way.
A background check that turns up trouble is also strong grounds for rejection. A background check might bring up criminal activity, a DUI, or drug charges, all things you don’t want to bring onto your property.
Again, if a tenant refuses to authorize a credit or background check, take that as a sign of past delinquent behavior.
The Tenant Smokes or Has Pets
Good tenants come in all shapes and sizes, but you never want to let anything majorly destructive into your dwelling. A tenant who smokes or owns pets is usually just a recipe for bad news.
Smoke damage is nearly impossible to clean. If it gets into your walls, ceiling, carpets, and flooring, you can try replacing or repainting, but the smell will likely be there forever. Smoke smells make it extremely difficult to sell the property when it comes time.
Even if your tenant swears they’ll only smoke outside, there’s still risk to your property. Their clothing and possessions may smell like smoke, which can linger in your property even after they’ve gone.
Pets are a gray area, but most experienced landlords will tell you not to bother with them. Allowing pets in your rental will open up the property to a larger applicant pool, but it could mean disaster.
Pet hair is difficult to remove, and if they have accidents in the house, your property can be damaged. Pets might also chew on or scratch walls and furnishings, and such damage is very expensive to fix.
You have more control over who lives in your rental than you might think, so use that control wisely. Avoid tenants who will create more headache than they’re worth.