FG asked: Just curious... do you prefer "groups" because they have more than one breadwinner (so there's always backup in case someone loses their job) and/or because it's more "stable" (where they're likely to treat the place better and/or ultimately stay longer) and/or some other reason(s)? Although obviously it is illegal to discriminate, I am personally more wary of renting to a group because I'm afraid of what might happen if they have a falling out... although I only have a 1/1 condo so it isn't really an issue in my situation.
How will the decision be made between the two good applicants? What criteria and method will you use to evaluate? How do you then break it to the applicant that wasn't chosen, and do you let them know that you will be in touch if something doesn't pan out with the applicant you did choose? Do you immediately sign a rental agreement and obtain a deposit etc with the chosen applicant to firm up the commitment?
First, no we do not discriminate. We take applications from everyone who wants to fill out an application. We only consider potential tenants that give us a full application. We run credit and background checks (which costs us money and we pay for it, we do not ask the applicants to pay) on the first group (roommate group or family group) and if the first group has the ability to pay we generally rent to that group. Besides ability to pay we have a point system that looks at the number of persons in the rental group, number of cars, number of pets, kind of pets. Our goal is to rent to a group that will pay us on time, keep the wear and tear to a minimum and not cause any problems with the neighbors.
We keep taking applications until we have a signed lease and a deposit and the deposit is not refundable (the deposit goes directly to pay for the classified listing in our local paper if the tenants decide not to move in for some reason). As soon as we have a signed lease we will communicate to the other groups, that have given us a full application, and we let them know that we will keep their application and will contact them if the property quickly comes available for some reason.
Regarding the perfect tenants, Mr. Sam (who generally gets the last say on tenants since he acts as landlord) prefers roommate groups because if one roommate decides to move out the other can keep renting the property and get new roommates. Rental #1 has been passed down for the last five years in this manner from roommate group to roommate group. As a result, this is the first time we have had to go out to the market and find new tenants. I prefer families with school age children because once a family has their children settled into a school they are less likely to want to move.