Rental Home Criteria

What Are Landlords Looking For?

Knowing what Landlords are looking for in a Tenant can better prepare you for the process. While there is no universal requirement, many general factors usually apply.

Income Requirements

Perhaps the most important requirement to rent a house is the ability to pay the rent. Many Landlords often require that you spend no more than 30 percent of your income on rent. A strong employment history, as well as being currently employed, also supports the ability to pay rent. For those of us who are self-employed, usually showing a history income supported by tax returns or bank statements showing a history of deposits adequate to cover the rent.

Credit Score

The higher your credit score the better, however, what a Landlord is really looking for is a history of financial responsibility. Therefore, a strong rental history with no history of late payments and no evictions or judgments related to your tenancy can offset any consumer credit issues. Landlords are typically less concerned about medical charge offs, than charge offs or delinquencies related to your living situation.

Your recent credit history is usually more important to a landlord than history from long ago.

Background Check

Landlords who conduct background checks are looking at your criminal record and eviction history. An eviction, violent crime, domestic abuse or dealing drugs may be more problematic than a warrant for not paying a ticket when you were in college. If you know these issues will come up during your background check, then you should include a letter of explanation up front with your application.

Employment and Rental References

Landlords aren’t interested in talking with your parents or your best friend, they want to talk to your prior landlords and to your employer. Landlords will ask your past landlords if you’ve been a good tenant and have paid your rent on time and if they would rent to you again. They will ask your employer whether you really do work where you say you do and whether you’re a solid, dependable employee.

What Landlords Can’t Ask You

You might need to fill out a rental application and agree to a credit and background check, but landlords cannot discriminate against seven protected classes: Race, Color, Religion, National Origin, Sex, Disability And Familial Status.