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Looking Beyond the Credit Score for Great Portsmouth Tenants

Tenant Signing a Lease for a Portsmouth Rental HomeFinding a quality tenant is one of the most vital factors in keeping your Portsmouth rental home profitable.

For some landlords, the “right tenant” is someone that has a near-perfect credit score. Their tenant approval decisions are based on the idea that excellent credit history is an assurance of a financially stable future. While credit scores are important, they don’t tell the whole story. A landlord might steer clear of an otherwise excellent tenant if too much importance is set on their credit score. A property owner has to know what other matters to look for when screening applicants that can help distinguish great tenants right away.

When screening rental applicants, property owners are correct to want to identify more about the tenant’s financial situation. A credit report can suggest a lot of information past a simple credit score, information that an owner can use to decide whether or not the tenant is likely to make their rental payments entirely and on time. For example, late payments on an account that is now current can bring a credit score down but also shows the applicant is now paying their bills on time.

Although a previous vehicle repossession or a credit card charge-off is a deal-breaker for many property owners, it is imperative to bear in mind that many people were struck by hard times many years ago because of the Great Recession. Through no fault of their own, they could have lost their jobs or homes, but then have since found stable employment and managed their credit accounts well. Or, perhaps an earlier medical emergency triggered the applicant to miss a deadline or two on their medical bills or student loan payments, but they’ve made good financial choices since then. In these circumstances, the score might be an insignificant factor as compared to the tenant’s payment history over time. A few mistakes many years ago should not prevent an otherwise solid applicant.

To get the entire picture, it’s important to get material data from the applicant that is not on the credit report itself. If the prospective tenant has a valid reason for their lower credit score, such as those listed above, that may be a reason to keep them under consideration. Also, property owners should always supplement an applicant’s credit report with references who can state their potential. If an applicant has a strong history of paying rent on time and a stable income, these factors may be better indicators of how they would do as a tenant than numbers on a credit report.

Tenant screening can be an involved process, especially for single-family rental homes in Portsmouth. Property owners generally want someone who will be a stable, long-term tenant, making the decision an even more critical one. At Real Property Management Hampton Roads, we perform a thorough screening on every applicant, from credit reports and beyond. Our property management professionals know what to look for, and how to choose the right tenant for every rental property we manage. If you would prefer to discover more about our screening process or would like to speak to someone, please contact us online or by phone at (757) 395-4274.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.