How can I check a potential tenant’s credit?

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To other landlords out there, I would appreciate your advice! 

 

My husband and I have been renting out our old apartment for a year, but the tenant is leaving to return to his home country. We posted an ad and found a family interested in renting the place, but how can we check them out? The previous tenant was known to us, so we didn’t do due diligence. 

 

Is it possible to run a credit check? Or what kinds of documents do you typically ask for from potential tenants? 

 

I rented out my place in the US before, but always through a property management company that handled finding and vetting tenants. Thanks in advance for the help! 

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In Germany most landlords ask for a "SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft". Typically, rental property-seekers have a folder of "Unterlagen" and that would be included. The prospective tenant gets it (and pays for it) and then shows it to you.

AFAIK you can't check someone's credit in Germany without their explicit permission.

Most landlords also ask for proof of income (pay-stubs) and work contract. Some landlords won't let to someone who doesn't have a permanent job, or a very long history as self-employed.

I let my property to foreigners or companies, so I never ask for credit information.

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That’s great to know, thanks! I’d be happy to rent to a company, like one that wants to put up employees on long-term visits. But I doubt there’s much chance in Koblenz to find that. We also would welcome foreigners because then either of us can deal with them English rather than my husband having to do everything with German tenants. That’s what we had with our tenant who is leaving. Unfortunately the potential tenant we found on through an online ad is a German who presumably wants to do everything in German.

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2 hours ago, MollyWolly said:

Unfortunately the potential tenant we found on through an online ad is a German who presumably wants to do everything in German.

 

You are the one with the flat to let. You get to call the shots. 

 

And, yes, potential tenants must provide their own credit report, proof of employment, etc.

 

I don't know how it is in Koblenz but in most cities in Germany, people will be knocking your door down for the flat. You get to pick and choose. Did you really only get one response to your ad?

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42 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

I don't know how it is in Koblenz but in most cities in Germany, people will be knocking your door down for the flat. You get to pick and choose. Did you really only get one response to your ad?

I'd have to disagree with that. Housing is a real pressing issue in many large-ish cities in Germany, but far from most of them. Berlin, Munich, and a few others (including their surroundings) have the housing issue because everyone wants to be in these cities as these are the business, financial, and technological centers.

Koblenz, as well as most other cities, are hardly the same.

 

It doesn't mean these are bad towns. It's just that there aren't many reasons to move there.

In the east, it's even more apparent.

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Wooo. I just checked out flats in/around Koblenz on immobillienscout.de. I can't believe how cheap they are. 

 

You still get to choose your renter. We just get all info and trust our guts to choose one. It has worked out fine for many years. No info, no renty.

 

Whether or not new people are flocking to Koblenz, many people need a place starting out, after divorce, etc. 

 

I wish you the best of luck!

 

 

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Thanks! We’re in the “suburbs” of Koblenz, if you can even call it that. A few bites and showings from our ad, but nobody knocking down the door.

 

From the 3 or so we showed it to, these were the only people so far who wanted it. We don’t want to turn down a potentially good renter on the way off chance of finding a foreigner / someone willing to do everything in English in this area.

 

Since this is our first time renting to strangers, we’re just trying to figure out the best way forwards. I read so many horror stories here about bad renters ruining people’s apartments and then not being able to get rid of them, so I want to take all possible precautions!

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I forgot to mention that it's also standard to ask for a reference from the previous landlord if you are worried about a bad tenant. The document is called Vorvermieterbescheinigung or Mieterzeugnis.

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5 hours ago, Smaug said:

In Germany most landlords ask for a "SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft". Typically, rental property-seekers have a folder of "Unterlagen" and that would be included. The prospective tenant gets it (and pays for it) and then shows it to you.

AFAIK you can't check someone's credit in Germany without their explicit permission.

Most landlords also ask for proof of income (pay-stubs) and work contract. Some landlords won't let to someone who doesn't have a permanent job, or a very long history as self-employed.

I let my property to foreigners or companies, so I never ask for credit information.

My cousin asks for bank statements from potential tenants as well since he wants to check whether the salary is actually being paid or not. Some people produce fake payroll slips. He works for a bank and sells mortgages, so he always double checks everything :).

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I think you have to take the view, "What happens when this renter turns into a problem?".  Did they trash the place?  More people living there than stated?  Lost their job?  Sublet?  Refuse to make rent payment?  The list goes on, but you should have this list when you select a tenant.  The other side of the list should include:  What if we move and want to sell?  We can't afford to make necessary repairs?  Your family wants to move in...can you easily end the contract?  Do I enjoy root canals?

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