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.
- On time payment
- Zero complaints
- 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!
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.
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
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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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.
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!
Robert Hurley jr says
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.
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.
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!!!
ming on mongo says
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.
Ben @ BankAim says
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
Financial Samurai says
Well, I guess I’m in a good position then since my tenants married after two years renting from me and are still there!
Ben @ BankAim says
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.
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.
Rent to a married couple. ;)
Financial Samurai says
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! :)