If a potential tenant has very bad credit history, can the landlord raise the rent due to this?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If a potential tenant has very bad credit history, can the landlord raise the rent due to this?

I am the landlord’s realtor and have a rental application from a person with horrible credit. I have a couple questions about a rental I have. Can my client landlord raise the rent price due to this circumstance? The property has a pool. Can my client ask the tenant to pay for the weekly maintenance provided by a certified pool company? If not, can the landlord tell the tenant that the pool cannot be used? Also, due to the credit issues, is it legal to have tenant pay for a home warranty to make sure house is covered just in case something goes wrong?

Asked on October 4, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can't treat poor credit applicants worse than good credit applicants in terms of amount of rent, security deposit, or requiring insurance or a home warranty; doing so may run afoul of laws or court decisions which prevent taking advantage of those with poor credit. But landlords retain wide discretion to reject applicants whom for one reason or another they feel are bad risks. You client can refuse to rent to this person, but if he does rent to him, it must be on the same terms as to others. In my experience as a NJ landlord-tenant attorney, people who are bad credit risks arr bad risks for a reason; a landlord should not rent to bad credit risks, since doing so creates a great risk of being stiffed on rent or damages.
Requiring tenants to pay for pool maintenance or not use the pool is legal and a good idea.

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