Real NEastate: What’s a good credit score for a renter?

Q: I have a house for rent in Rhawnhurst for $,1200. I have had a few people fill out applications, but nobody has been able to provide me with a credit score of 650 or above. Is this an unreasonable request? Should I lower my standards?

A: As you may know, some people are forced to rent – although they would prefer to own – because they do not meet the minimum credit score required to buy. With your qualification of a 650 credit score, you’ve actually made it harder to rent your property than to buy a home. Many mortgage lenders only require a minimum score of 620.

The odds are in your favor collecting rent from a tenant with good credit. That said, maybe there is another reason why someone’s credit score may be less than stellar. Take a look at the whole credit report, not just the score. You may end up finding a good explanation there.

Also, take your potential tenants’ earnings into account. Can they even afford the rent? Maybe an applicant with a great job now has a bad credit score now because of past credit issues that would be relevant now. And, in reverse, even a person with a great credit score can be trouble if they don’t have the money to pay the rent.

As the landlord, you are the only person who can make the determination of what type of qualifications you are willing to accept. While it’s a smart move to check the credit score of potential tenants, a credit score of 650 is a rather high standard. It may be harder to find a tenant.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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