My criteria may be considered a little "strict" by some. Since the town I live in is made up of mostly professional people, many who are here transiently for a few years, I can afford to hold out for those with stellar credit report, etc. Here's my criteria:
Applicant and all co-applicants must have:
1. All statements and information provided by applicant is true and easily verifiable.
2. No serious criminal background (no felonies, no repeated DUIs, etc).
3. No outstanding warrants.
4. Established satisfactory credit history of at least six months with FICO >649 or satisfactory guarantor with good credit history and agreeable to higher security deposit.
5. Established employment history of at least six months.
6. Monthly income that is guaranteed and at least 3.5 times monthly rent
7. Passed tenant screening background check.
8. If previous renter, satisfactory remarks from previous landlords regarding rent being paid on time, obeying rules, and no damage to rental property.
9. If not previous renter, satisfactory evidence that applicant has history of paying bills on time and taking care of own and otherís personal property.
10. Employer can verify income, length of employment. (I also ask about applicantís job performance in an open-ended way.)
Automatic denial if:
1. History of bankruptcy within last 7 years that is not related to a catastrophic, single-time event such as one huge medical bill or identity theft. If FICO less than 650, applicant may be considered on a case by case basis if lowered FICO score was clearly due to an uncontrollable, catastrophic event, such as huge medical bill and applicant/ co-applicant has shown a credit history since event that clearly shows consistently good credit behavior.
2. FICO score less than 650 (see above for exception) or, if no established credit, the lack of a qualified co-signer.
3. Convicted of a felony or misdemeanors or if outstanding warrant.
4. Poor ethical or moral character. Character will be assessed based on interviews with applicant, co-applicant, and others listed on the application to see if there is current presence of or history of offensive behavior. For example, applicant or co-applicant has a history of lying, sloth, stealing, domestic violence, drunken outbursts, disruptive behavior, being overly-confrontational or disrespectful.
5. Applicant and/ or co-applicant omits information on the application and is unwilling or unable to supply information that would allow Landlord to perform a satisfactory background check that could be easily completed within 24 hours.
6. Applicant or co-applicantís background check shows worrisome behavioral trends, such as history of accounts going to collection/ non-payment, frequent changes of address, or frequent changes of employers or other worrisome examples of instability.