This article was posted on Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015

Many landlords, myself included, like to use a written scoring system where applicants receive points for various criteria.  If an applicant reaches a score they meet the minimum requirements. One landlord started the discussion by asking if others can share about the scoring system they use.  Below is one example of a scoring system that was shared on the forum.

1. _____ On time for appointment

2. _____ Brought necessary items: ID, application information, references, application

               fee, holding deposit

3. _____ Application filled out completely and truthfully

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4. _____ Able to verify all necessary information

5. _____ Able to pay full amount of rent and deposit

6. _____ Verifiable monthly income at least three times the rental amount

7. _____ Verifiable income and employment

8. _____ Stable income or stable employment, minimum six months

9. _____ Financial obligations no more than 50% of verifiable income

10. _____ Satisfactory credit history (no bankruptcy, FICO score 1 point for every 50

                 above 500)

11. _____ Provided credit references

12. _____ At current address for a minimum of six months

13. _____ Gave proper notice to prior landlord

15. _____ No prior evictions

16. _____ No problems with previous landlord(s)

17. _____ Previous deposit returned (not used for damage or last month’s rent)

18. _____ No police reports

19. _____ No significant violations of previous rental agreements

20. _____ No pets or is willing to pay higher monthly rent and deposit for pets

21. _____ Nonsmoker(s)
________ Total score (must score at least 15 points to be considered)
Scored by: _________________________________DATE:____________________


Too Many Problems With Carpet?

Consider Replacing
I am not a fan of carpet. All it takes is one cat that likes to scratch or pee on it, one kid with a cup of red Kool-Aid to spill on it, or one person who refuses to take their muddy shoes off and your $1,500-$3,000 investment is destroyed.  Instead of dealing with the hassles of carpeting, consider ways to get rid of carpet. I use one of three methods:


  • Refinish existing hardwood floors, if present
  • Use resilient water-proof flooring such as Traffic Master “Allure” vinyl plank carried exclusively by Home Depot (free shipping on most Internet orders over $45)
  • Install ceramic tile — mainly for kitchens and baths.


These methods may cost a little more per square foot initially, but they hold up considerably better over the long haul and you’ll never pay a carpet cleaning fee again.


Small Balance Will Grow to

Thousands if You Let It! 

Each month, closely monitor all of your AR (accounts receivable) for small unpaid rent payments or other charges. If renters are slacking or carrying small balances (i.e., unpaid late fees), they get a letter or legal notice. Keep working this list, each and every month. Terminate those that tend to keep popping up on the list. A little effort goes a long way, because usually there is no good that comes out of letting mediocre tenants rack up huge bills. Eventually, they will move out after much frustration for both parties. Often they leave damages and lots of stuff inside the rental unit. Very few will attempt to make payments, even with a judgement. Small balances can grow to thousands before you realize it.
A landlord on the Facebook page responded by saying: “Why let renters get behind in the first place? Train them when they are new. Don’t wait for slow payers. Serve notice as quickly as your state allows.”

My response: Your line of thinking is the ideal business practice. The landlord advising here is addressing so many rental owners who unfortunately have not been as firm in their payment policies. Don’t allow residents to get a little behind thinking that you are trying to help them and hoping that they will eventually get caught up. As you have learned, the reality is that most do not. 

The warning here to those landlords, is that the practice of allowing renters to gradually get a little behind (and to do so repeatedly) will most likely only lead to much BIGGER financial problems. So, the advice is to get back to the ideal business practice and not allow slow pay by taking legal action [serving timely notices] NOW to either prompt renters to get completely caught up while the amount is small or evict them before the situation blows up on you!  


The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.