How landlords SHOULDN’T select new tenants

Ryan Bembridge is editor of Property Investor Post

As a landlord looking for a tenant your number one should be finding someone dependable who will pay the rent on time – but not every investor or property manager covers themselves in glory during this process.

As a tenant searching for a new property in the past few months, I’ve experienced some strange behaviours that I wouldn’t expect from any good landlord.

Below, I’ll round up some of my recent experiences, so you have an idea of how NOT to behave when selecting a tenant.

Discrimination of nationality

This is the most serious example I’ve experienced.

As an Englishman renting in Canada after two years of living in the country, I was turned down to rent a property for having insufficient credit history in the country.

This is despite having near perfect credit history in the UK and a track record of paying the rent on time for eight years. What’s more I proved I have regular income and a sizable amount of savings.

Such was the confusing nature of this decision, I felt I was a victim of discrimination – landlords shouldn’t reject a tenant when all the evidence points to them being dependable simply because of the country they are from. Right to Rent checks aside, this seems like pretty basic stuff.

In Ontario this is classed as ‘constructive discrimination’ against immigrants by the letter of the law. By all means check their income and expenditure, but no recent immigrant can help having a lack of credit history in their new country.

Gender discrimination

While being a man has its many advantages in life, I’d argue that renting a property is one of few situations where it’s easier to be female.

When searching for properties, listing after listing advertises properties as ‘female only’. And many that don’t say so ignore all the male applicants who get in touch anyway.

For me it’s unfair to tarnish everyone with the same brush. Not all women are good tenants, and it should depend on the individual rather than the gender regarding finding housemates that work together.

Of course, this gender discrimination can come from other tenants as well.

One property I looked at was renting out two rooms. A woman was chosen for the other room who refused to live with men, so I was turned down again despite having never met the person in question.

Intrusiveness/controlling behaviours

During my search a number of landlords have implied that they like to enter properties without notice to ensure everyone is being quiet and/or clean.

While it’s sensible for landlords to be confident of tenants’ behaviour, privacy isn’t an unfair expectation.

You don’t need to monitor the property at all times to see who comes and goes and when your tenant fancies ordering a takeaway.

One landlord I spoke to rather comically said he likes his tenants to be “loners”, adding that you can’t have anybody around other than “maybe a girlfriend”.

This is clearly an unfair expectation – if a tenant pays the rent and treats the home responsibly, they have a right to live.

It’s a sad world to live in if only antisocial people are permitted to rent properties.

Comments 1

  1. … offering to join posting your rental payment record to credit reference agencies next time.

    Win-Win… you get to build up a positive credit history and landlord gets the confidence that you have something at stake if rental payments are delayed in future.

    All mortgage holders (including the landlords with BTL mortgages) enjoy the same service currently. offer this service to tenants. I am sure there are other providers too.

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