Is It Better To Rent To Males Or Females?

Nobody quite understands the challenges of being a landlord until they've been one. Finding ideal tenants is top priority, and it's not always easy. I've been for over 13 years now and have some crazy stories. In your search for tenants, you may be wondering whether it's better to rent to males or females.

First of all, don't rush the tenant screening process regardless of a tenant's gender. It can be easy getting tenants in, but it can be near impossible getting them out.

Time To Find An Ideal Tenant Again

One night back in 2010, I remember getting t a written notice in the mail informing me that my tenant of 2.5 years was moving back East. I wondered, how could he leave paradise to move back home to the sweltering heat of New Jersey? 

I'll never know. Anyway,  I was really sad to see him go because he was as close to the ideal tenant as possible.

Ned always paid on time. He was quiet, didn't have raging parties, and never bothered me to come fix anything. OK, so there were a couple times he needed an extra week or two to pay rent, but in the end he always delivered.

What I Look For In A Tenant As A 13-Year Landlord

I've learned a lot about the tenant vetting process over the years as a landlord. I currently own three rental properties in San Francisco, where I've lived for around two decades.

Here's a list of attributes I look for in a tenant when I'm reviewing rental applications. Note, my initial screening does not pay attention to whether or not I should rent to males or females.

  • Great credit (680 or higher, and the higher the better).
  • Not a psycho killer or a clearly mentally unstable person. You know the ones with crazy eyes when you talk to them.
  • Has a stable source of income, which could include interest income if s/he has no job.
  • Good prior landlord references.
  • Has enough money in the bank to cover at least 18 months of rent if he/she lost their job.
  • Longer than 1 year duration at his or her job. Longer the better.
  • A pleasant demeanor, i.e. not an axe murderer or an asshole.

If a candidate possesses all of the above attributes, I'm more than likely to rent my apartment to them. 

It's really not worth taking a risk on a poor tenant only to miss out on months of rental income due to non payment, or litigation! 

Now, the next question I have is whether it's better to rent to males or females and whether it matters at all? Let's discuss.

Who Makes Better Tenants: Males Or Females?

As a landlord, all you want are three main things.

  1. On time payment
  2. Zero complaints
  3. Minimum wear and tear

In other words, if I could rent to a robot who doesn't have to move and always sends me a check electronically on time, that would be the best!

1) Dependability

Dependability is pretty much a wash between men and women. Men are just as flaky as women. And women are just as dependable as men. Usually.

Actually, if I exam all the females I know, they are all pretty damn dependable. Whereas some of the guys I know just tend to be complete flakazoids who are never on time. OK, women are favored here 60/40.

2) Complaints

Men tend to pride themselves on being able to unclog the toilet, change light bulbs, fix holes in walls, and paint. Women, typically not so much.

I've heard stories from other rental property owners where women will call their landlord to squash a spider. Come on now, a spider is like 1/1,000,000 the size of you! Men get the nod 70/30.

3) Wear And Tear

This is a tricky factor to determine whether it's better to rent to males or females. Men tend to enjoy throwing parties with lots of loud music and fountains of alcohol. For example, keg parties, strip parties, bachelor parties, birthday parties, you name it! 

I rented my house to 5 guys once. It was a complete disaster. The neighbors constantly called me complaining about them throwing parties. They didn't abide by the lease terms on noise, staying off the roof, etc. And man were they total slobs. They stained and scraped the floors and walls, bashed a hole in the wall, cracked my tile floor, etc.

Not only that, they bought used furniture on Craigslist that was infested with bed bugs and then tried to blame me for the infestation. When I finally got them all out, I said never again!

Women don't throw ragers as often as men for some reason. Furthermore, it is the unmarried woman who tends to sleep over at the boyfriend's house more often than vice versa. Hence, there typically is less wear and tear if you rent to a woman. And therefore women are 70/30 favorites when it comes to wear and tear.

Related: How To Deal With Bad Tenants


Bob the friendly dog walker..
Rent to Olivia Munn or…

Based on my three variables, there's no perfect answer on if it's better to rent to males or females. You may be having having trouble deciding which is the safer sex to rent to as well.

Women generally just seem so much more respectable and less violent.  How many serial killers do you know are women? In the movie “Pacific Heights,” Michael Keaton was a man and not a woman.

My gut tells me women are better, but the funny thing is my last tenant of 2.5 years was a man, and he was great! Ultimately, you've got to look at your prospective tenants individually, regardless of their gender.

Do a thorough background check. Call and review all their references. Verify their employment. Have multiple conversations with them. Make them get renters insurance. And go with your gut. If they are annoying you from the beginning, they will highly likely drive you even more crazy over time.

* Please note that it is illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant based on sex, race, or creed. However, it is legal to ask a question and wonder out loud.


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63 thoughts on “Is It Better To Rent To Males Or Females?”

  1. In my experience as a landlord, women expect more free rides.

    The nature of societies worldwide, men were historically the bread winners. It’s just been the last few generations that it altered to more equality.

    According to stats on stuff like spousal support though, women still expect men to pay bills for them. Doing nothing in return. One of my tenants told me that growing up, her mom taught her that as long as she looks good, men will take care of her.

    Applied to tenancy, women often have this mentality that they don’t necessarily have to pay. Men will pay for them.

    I’ve also had male tenants miss payments, but they tried to make up for it doing things like installing new windows. Not women. They expect free rides.

  2. OH man I can’t imagine what a nightmare those 5 male tenants must have been based on what they did. That would have driven me crazy. Great food for thought in this post and I can see how it’s not always totally clear if men or women are better tenants. Perhaps happy couples are the best!

  3. Robert Hurley jr

    As a male with autism i have a chip on my shoulder. Never made over 30k in a year. But I would bring up my work history, my paying off of student loans and car. My big savings account, 30k. 9 years of employment. Id be going for a studio apartment in Florida. But since i just moved here and wouldnt have longevity in a job id bet they’d still discriminate against me.

  4. No offense but your demands on too high. Doesn’t sound like a landlord I would like to deal with. 13 years you’ve been doing this? Are you sure?

    A credit check with a security deposit and 1st months rent should be enough. At most 6-8 months to cover rent if your tenants have poor or no credit history.

    Depending on your location the tenants may or may not live up to your expectations, it really depends on location which is another key factor.

    I have seen both, landlords who lose money and make poor decisions when renting as well as those who never lose much. And some which their properties never get rented b/c most people in the community can’t meet up to their demands.

  5. I was just informed that my plant is closing. Well, actually they are firing all us unionized employees and replacing us with minimum wage workers. I am very relieved that our company will now make more money. I have 3 empty bedrooms and live in a university town. I will rent to 2 really hot, young girls and 1 studly guy. I can’t see any issues with that!!!

  6. ming on mongo

    Also kinda depends on the landlord’s gender and the occasional unspoken ‘sexual politics’. But generally-speaking, in my own experience as a male landlord for over 20 years, women seem to move around more than men do (judging by the overwhelming number of female applicants whenever I advertise a vacancy). Which suggests more frequent “issues” at their last location.

    And IMO, women are often “fussier” and also more apt to “attract” problems and ‘drama’, like crazy boyfriends, demanding relatives or mouthy girlfriends, plus they’re more often sticklers about the “rules” (but only the ones that benefit them), and if problems do arise, there’s often a tendency to play ‘victim’ instead of seeking a mutual resolution. But perhaps a female landlord would work better with a female tenant, where they both share the same “culture”, although on the whole I’ve generally found male tenants to be more straightforward and less “problematic” to deal with.

  7. Ben @ BankAim

    IMO I have noticed that married couples with a child or two are more reliable than renting to a single male or female. I don’t think the sex of the person is relevant. Married is the way to go.. or newly married couples

      1. Ben @ BankAim

        Yes you are! My wife’s parents have been renting from the same guy for 5 years. They find that rent is cheaper than owning their own home now.. but things have changed a lot over the past 5 years, so they are getting into the market to buy a house.

  8. My family owns rental property and I would say the sex is irrelevant. I think occupation and credit history are more relevant. A banker, consultant or lawyer is going to spend less time in the unit than a struggling artist. I’m never home and every landlord I have had loved me and never raised the rent on me nor kept any of the deposits because I was never in the apt and never caused any problems and always paid on time.

    1. Funny thing is, both tenants in my other place ended up getting married! Married couples are great… until they have boat loads of children to tear up the carpet and walls! :)

  9. I think women make the best tenants. I’ve rented to both sexes and the men are dirty and leave the most trash behind when they move out. But women are more likely to call for maintenance and try to play on your sympathies when they’re late on rent. So there is a trade-off. Always get references.

  10. I will only rent to white women. They never tear my apartment apart and the only bad thing is sometimes I have to do maintenance. It is not illegal to discriminate if you are not a licensed real estate professional.

  11. So, was the 18 months of rent thing a requirement for your previous tenant? If so, why were there a few times that he needed extra time to pay the rent? Obviously, even if a person did have that amount of money available to them when they first rent from you, that doesn’t mean that they will have the money later on or want to spend it on paying rent.

    I could just see the gall of you telling your new tenant, “No way, you’re not getting an extension. You better go withdraw from your savings or investments, and pay me on time.” A potential tenant is not required to provide a landlord any financial statements if they are not going to use those accounts as the source of income to pay the rent. The majority of people will have jobs, and a landlord may request to see a recent pay stub to verify employment and the ability to pay the rent, and run a credit check.

    How frequently did you plan to see these statements to ensure the person still had the money? If they no longer had the money, were you going to give them an eviction notice? To mitigate risk, usually a landlord will require 3 months rent as a deposit; which the landlord must not spend. In most cities in California the landlord is not required to give the tenant interest earned when refunding the deposit.

    Also, given the amount of foreclosures of rental properties, are you willing to provide your tenant copies of your mortgage, property tax and property insurance statements to verify that you are keeping up with the payments?

  12. How do you check account balances? Credit score I understand, but if a potential landlord started asking for bank and investment statements, I’d say see ya later.

  13. It doesn’t really matter if your renter is a male or female. What does matter is how they present themselves to you, just like in a job interview. Ive had both good and bad female and male renters.

  14. Oh man, this article made me laugh. :D
    So true about the spiders…I’m a woman, and I love every single creature out there (I have 3 pet Madagascar Hissing Roaches!), but if I see a SPIDER…. EEEEEK! I scream for someone to come kill it. Spiders just give me the willies.

    Whoever you do rent to, make sure they’re not a hoarder! Unfortunately, Hoarding hits both men and women pretty equally. Don’t know what “Hoarding” is? Check out (warning: videos on this site, make sure your sound is at a reasonable level).

  15. Money Reasons

    If I had a rental property, my perfect tenant would be a religious male accountant that is of age mid-30s and up, and doesn’t own any pets. I would also try to peek inside of his car! If the car is immaculate, then there is a great chance the tenant would be too.

    Why a religious male accountant with an excellent clean car? Because they would require the least amount of attention, while being clean.

    Next I would choose a professional career oriented woman (again with no pets).

    Other than the perfect male tenant, women would always win over men when they are similar in characteristics and class.

  16. I’ve been a landlord for 1 year now and have who I consider to be ideal tenants. Rent is always on time and they rarely call with any issues. In fact, they wanted to upgrade the property by having cement laid on a dirt patch outside their front door so they could have a patio area. They even paid half the cost! We were more than happy to oblige because it looks much nicer.

    They are a couple in their late twenties. I think couples are able to keep each other in check. For that very reason, I would prefer to rent to couples instead of leaning toward a particular sex. You also half the duel income to help offset the risk of losing a job and not paying rent. On the flipside, you have the breakup risk, but that’s what contracts are for.

    In my personal experience with roommates, men are much dirtier than women. In fact, their girlfriends would do all of the cleaning for them.

    (Just wanted to say, I love the website. I’ve been following for a few months and have learned a ton!)

  17. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

    I’ll just start this out by saying I’m a girl.

    We rented out our spare bedroom for 2 or 3 years and guys are just easier to deal with. Less drama, less needy, and one guy was actually way cleaner than anybody I have ever met. Sorry girls, I will rent to you if I have to but if it’s a tie between you and a guy, I’ll pick the guy every time. This is obviously trumped if the girl candidate is better. Pay on time and don’t break anything and don’t interrupt my tv shows with stupid crap like spider crushing, and I’m happy. :-)

    BTW, spiders I have no problem with, but if there is a cockroach, that is a WHOLE ‘nother story…

  18. I haven’t had to search for an apartment in a long time but I remember one open house I went to in my younger years was like trying to win class president at Harvard. There were tons of people there with golden credit reports and checks in hand, and I never even got a chance to talk to the landlord because everyone was busy kissing his ***. I think trustworthiness and reliability are way more important than gender. Best of luck!

  19. “it can be a combo of savings, liquid stocks and bonds etc.”

    Ah, sorry, reacted too soon… That is perfectly reasonable. Though I still won’t feel very comfortable if the landlord asks me for a net worth statement :)

  20. Even I have to ask…18 months of rent saved? really? We might have that kind of money only because we are saving for a down payment on a house, otherwise it would definitely go into a mutual fund/stock. On the same note, 18 months of rent won’t be enough to buy a house in most of the places. Places with lower home price have much lower rent too. So it is the same math (except may be SF/NY). Add in the closing cost and other initial expenses, we are not looking at much at all.

    Regarding whether men/women renters, it really comes down to personality I guess. But if I have to choose, it will be single women or a couple :) I don’t think I will be a landlord anytime soon, but I have seen enough keg parties in the neighborhood houses with single men :) unless that person is an introvert…

  21. Kevin@InvestItWisely

    “Maybe this is what’s wrong with America? How can you NOT have at least 6 months worth of liquid assets saved up, if not 18 months worth? I’m not saying necessarily 100% savings.. it can be a combo of savings, liquid stocks and bonds etc.”

    This isn’t so bad. I know that I wouldn’t keep around $30,000 as cash in my bank just to please a landlord (and here, I don’t think they can even ask such things anyways).

  22. @JollyHolly
    Anyone who has sense to save 18 months worth of rent has enough sense to know that renting is like pissing money down the drain. Are you snorting?

    1. Like Sam mentions above, what are you going to buy with 18 months of rent saved? A locker at the airport to store your stuff? You can have 18 months of rent saved and like to own, but you still can’t buy!

      1. Agreed. This whole 18 months thing does not compute, especially as he also tells us, “OK, so there were several times when he needed an extra week or two to pay rent.”

        1. Sorry, I missed this part: “it can be a combo of savings, liquid stocks and bonds etc.”

          That’s perfectly reasonable. ;)

        2. The first nice thing I’ve ever said? I have said many, many nice things to many people. Just none of them on this forum. ;)

          And here you competely missed the irony in my smiley.

          Seriously, though, if you’re expecting 18 months of rent in liquid accounts I think you may have trouble finding a renter in the $1500 range (if that’s your range). That’s $27,000. And you did say “money in the bank” originally. You have already indicated that your otherwise ideal tenant need an extra week or two to pay, which suggests that he did not in fact have that kind of liquidity. (Even sale of stock from a taxable account should not require two weeks.)

          It’s been over 20 years since I rented, and I always lived in multi-unit apartment complexes that had good-sized management companies, so I suppose if one tenant was temporarily in arrears it did not present a major cash flow problem for the landlord. But though I always needed an income and credit check, I was never asked for proof of liquid assets. Maybe things are different if you’re an individual renting to a single tenant, but in honesty I think if the other criteria are met, a 6 months’ emergency fund – meaning 6 months of total living expenses – should be reasonable.

          Just sayin’.

          1. 6 months is reasonable as a expense buffer, although my past two tenants have had 20+ months of liquid buffer.

            The reason why my almost ideal tenant was late twice in 2.5 years was b/c he was on vacation or traveling and didn’t drop the check in the mail. Both payments came soon after he returned.

            I dare you to copy and paste one genuine nice thing you’ve written here!

  23. @Mischelle

    @Investor Junkie

    @Little House

    Hmmm… let’s say the rent was $1,500. 18 months X $1,500 = $27,000 saved. Please tell me where in the SF Bay Area one can buy an even dilapidated place for $135,000 assuming 20% down ($27,000) and absolutely ZERO savings left over? I have a 30/30/3 rule when it comes to buying. Pls check it out.

    Maybe this is what’s wrong with America? How can you NOT have at least 6 months worth of liquid assets saved up, if not 18 months worth? I’m not saying necessarily 100% savings.. it can be a combo of savings, liquid stocks and bonds etc.

    This is interesting though, as maybe we are revealing some very different attitudes? I didn’t even thinkn about it, or hesitate when I typed out “18 months worth of savings” in the post. Hmmmmm…

    1. You may have some kind of 30/30/3 rule and just because you live in a high price state, I can see wy you wouls think that one could not afford to buy. But housing proces are not outrageous in the rest of the country. 18 months of rent would be a nice down payment on a starter home where I live.

      1. So where you live, rent is also cheaper too. Let’s say it’s $750/month for the same 1 bedroom property. You’re saying $13,500 is a great 20% downpayment on a property? Where do you live to be able to buy a $68,000 place?

        1. Nice one. You beat me to it. I was wondering the same thing.

          Where to buy a place for $68-130K!? Hook me up! lol.

          I want to rent to someone with a great asset base who is on their way to owning.

        2. Most first-time homebuyers only put 3.5% down with an FHA loan, so that would be a house worth more than $375,000.

    2. Are you including retirement accounts? If not, 18 months for most renters is not reality. If you
      are including retirement accounts, most people would not touch that and also you could not legally
      go after this in BK court.

      “How can you NOT have at least 6 months worth of liquid assets saved up, if not 18 months worth?”

      I agree, but that’s not reality. From the research, most people are BK if they don’t have a steady paycheck after 3 weeks.

      1. Nope, but I am including stock portfolio, CDs, and other liquid assets.

        That is a blanket statement… “most people are BK after 3 weeks with no paycheck”?? You kidding me? Most people?

        I’m not, you’re not, nobody is here. And we are most people! Most people are doing very well.

  24. Um, 18 months of rent? Hopefully that’s not the deal breaker for you if they have all the other requirements. If I had 18 months of rent saved up, I wouldn’t be renting! I’d purchase something. Now I know San Fran is much more expensive than LA, but still. As for women vs. men, I guess it’s a toss up. You just got done telling us your tenant, a man, was a wonderful tenant. One other thing to think about, if you rent to a woman or man, if they are presently engaged or very serious with another person, it could mean they would be moving after the wedding. Just a thought. Maybe you need to probe into their relationship in depth and make sure they aren’t going to be tying the knot anytime soon. You can ask them this right after you ask them if they have 18 months of rent saved up!

  25. Finding the right tenants is an art that landlords won’t ever perfect. The best tenants my parents ever had were two female college students. They were clean, quiet, and punctual with the rent payments. They also rented to a young couple that was rowdy and partied 3-4 times a week and threatened to damage the property if we kept complaining about their noise.

    My parents would definitely prefer females since previous male tenants didn’t clean their bathrooms. But ultimately, how the potential tenants present themselves matters the most to them. They get better at it after every time.

  26. Debt Vigilante

    A good tenant doesn’t really have much to do with sex. I think it is more of a question of personality. You are probably better off if your tenant is:
    1. An introvert – so they don’t throw parties and have people over all the time
    2. Resourceful – so they aren’t calling you to fix everything under sun

    Not to mention the obvious factors like steady job and good credit.

  27. @ Michelle – What would someone with only 18 months of rent saved be doing then? Snorting coke in Vegas?? I don’t understand your point as if you don’t rent, you buy, and what does 18 months of rent buy you but a good time in Vegas?

  28. “Has enough money in the bank to cover at least 18 months of rent .”

    18 months?? Your joking right? At that rate many people can afford to buy a place instead of renting.. Most people don’t even have that amount in emergency savings. I can understand 3-6 months, but 18?

  29. Mike - Saving Money Today

    If given the choice of Olivia Munn or Bob the dog walker…Olivia gets the nod.

    I think it would be very difficult to judge who would be a good tenant because appearances can be deceiving. The house next door to us used to be owned by a family where the parents were a little older than us and their kids ranged from around 8 to 18. The parents always had music going late at night and threw big parties with lots of noise. Since we have little kids who need to go to bed early, it was a real pain.

    When they moved and we saw a young newlywed couple move in we wondered if we were in for more of the same. but they are so quiet we barely know they are home.

    1. I’m really surprised you’d pick Olivia over Bob the friendly dog walker. I donno man, I think you are being biased!

      Can’t get better than a peacefully quiet tenant who never has a problem!

  30. 18 months of rent? Seriously? If most people had that kind of cash laying around they wouldn’t be renting.

  31. “Men pride themselves on being able to unclog the toilet, change light bulbs, fix holes in walls, and pain.”

    I also pride myself on pain. What are you asking for rent?

    You might ask Greg if he needs a place while he’s still on his 99-weeks of unemployment.

    1. Greg actually lives in a 2 bedroom condo valued at about $1.2 million. My place ain’t anything close to that, so he’s good. Although, I’d probably save him $4,000/month in payments probably!

  32. Sam,

    NJ is only sweltering hot 2 months out of the year.

    Discriminating against someone with crazy eyes could get you sued, especially in the grand state of California.


    1. Mike: “NJ is only sweltering hot 2 months out of the year.”

      That may be, but this year it’s outdoing itself.

    2. Indeed, but just like chilling and collecting unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, how do you prove one wrong? Do you happen to have crazy eyes? If so, is it possible for those with crazy eyes to make them less crazy? Just curious.. cuz it bugs me out.

  33. I took care of my mom’s rental property for a while and I think a person’s gender has nothing to do with it. It’s more the person’s upbringing. I wonder if there’s an easy legal question that you can ask to find that out. “Do you have any family in the area?”

    Too bad you can’t meet the tenant’s parents. That might give you a better clue. Coincidentally, I did rent to 2 females in a row and both came with their mom. The women seemed equally clean and polite, but the moms were way different from each other. The two tenants ended up being polar opposites of each other. The one that came with the cutely dressed, clean and engaging mother was the good tenant. The bad tenant’s mom didn’t even make eye contact or talk to me and just looked critically at the apartment. I think she was also dressed very casually (like sweatpants).

    I hate to say it, but looks do matter. If someone’s not even smart enough to put on a clean outfit or take a shower to meet a landlord, then it’s a red flag.

      1. Hmmm, interesting datapoint on the tenant’s momma. I’ll be on the look out for tidiness in the way they dress.

        Yeah, credit scores are killer important. That one score can tell a lot. Ther eis always a first time for everything, but that one score alone can really make a difference. Not worth taking a chance if there are many others with much higher credit scores. Anything below 660 starts getting dicey, sorry to say.

  34. Money Beagle

    I have never had rental properties, but I would think that it really depends on the individual. You’d probably have to go with your gut to see if you think the person is worthy of renting your property. As always, your gut is sometimes wrong, but I wouldn’t cater exclusively to one gender because you never know. Maybe to split the odds, try finding a nice couple :)

    1. The place ain’t big enough for a couple. I’d have to charge double the rent! :)

      Going with one’s gut is very important, and that’s what I’ve done for the past several tenants. So far, not bad… with the latest the absolute best.

  35. Well, you are right, we women are much less likely to be killers, which is a big plus. (But women, may be bigger stalkers, not sure on those statistics.)

    I think the trade off of changing the occasional light bulb vs. drywall repairs caused by giant kegger parties might make women the preferred renter.

    1. That’s what I’m saying. I can deal with a lot of stuff, but I can’t deal with psycho killers. Frankly, I just want the tenant to be happy when she or he first sees the place. It’s got to be a mutual love. It always does!

  36. 18 months of rent?!!


    Other than that, I dig your reasoning. I never want to be a landlord, but I get the feeling I’d gravitate towards a woman. Couldn’t say why, though – girl solidarity?

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