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Poll: Renters ease restrictions

Posted: April 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

More than three-quarters of independent landlords say they would rent to someone who lost a home in foreclosure, assuming the applicant traditionally had good credit, according to a survey released Thursday by The National Association of Independent Landlords.

With the sharp dive in housing values of the past few years, the spate of foreclosures and distressed properties has climbed.

Typically, landlords will not rent to people with poor credit. And foreclosures can wreak havoc on one’s credit score. Even short-sales can do damage.

The exception is when a landlord screens applicants who have paid their bills their whole lives, but lost their jobs, can’t meet their mortgage and must hand their keys back to the bank, said Tracey Benson, president of the National Association of Independent Landlords.

“Despite recent credit problems, applicants with a foreclosure can prove good risks, chiefly because they did once own their own home,” Benson said. “These people are used to taking pride in where they live. Often, they lost their jobs and homes through no fault of their own.”

As the recession lingered longer than many expected, more and more borrowers lost their homes after losing their jobs.

Others still lost homes they never should have bought and most likely would not have been allowed to purchase if some of the largest lending institutions hadn’t sold sub-prime loans with terms homeowners could not later afford to keep up with financially.

A thorough background check can indicate which category an applicant falls — and whether financial woes are part of a recent spate of bad luck or a lifelong trend the association reported.

In the survey, 82 percent of the landlords said they would consider renting to a former homeowner who otherwise had good credit.

“Because of this abundance of defaults, there is a greater need for rental property, so landlords should carefully vet applicants,” Benson said.

The National Association of Independent Landlords polled 563 members from March 21 through March 25, 2011. The association provides services to small landlords as well as information about property management rental laws in all 50 states.

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