How to Get a Prospective Landlord to Choose You
You may be entering the apartment rental market for the first time or you may be trying to find an apartment in a rental market where there is little available in your desired price range. Either way, the odds are that you may spend many evenings and weekends looking for an apartment and when you find the one that is right for you, you should try to make yourself stand out as the prospective landlord's preferred future tenant.
Your prospective landlord's greatest concerns will be that you will pay your rent on time, that you will take good care of their apartment and that you will be a good member of their apartment community who won't cause any problems for your fellow tenants. Following are some suggestions as to how you can satisfy these concerns:
- Apply for Apartments that You Can Afford: A landlord's top priority is to make sure you can pay the rent. Be successful with a prospective landlord by knowing the maximum rent that you and your co-applicants (where applicable) can afford, based on your income and other expenses, and only look at apartments at or under this amount.
- Proactively Explain Any Past Credit Challenges: Always assume that a prospective landlord will look at your credit history and obtain a copy of your credit report. If you have blemishes on your credit history, your landlord will receive them more positively if you proactively explain what happened and why and if you confirm what steps you have taken to ensure it won't happen again. If you live in Canada and are interested in obtaining a copy of your credit report please click here for information on how to obtain a free copy.
- Have the Money Available to Make the Move: It takes money to move and/or rent an apartment even before you pay first month's rent. Your prospective landlord will want to know that you have the money readily available to pay for your security deposit, moving costs and your first month's rent and your showing that will help them to evaluate you relative to competing applicants.
- References: If possible, when initially meeting with the landlord or its representatives be prepared to provide reference letters from your employer and from past landlords. Make it easy for your landlord to say yes to you on the spot if you like the apartment and want to submit an application.
- Dress for Success: When viewing an apartment viewing and meeting with the landlord or its representatives, dress well or, as they say, dress for success. First impressions mean just as much to your prospective landlord as they do for potential employers and your landlord will view you taking care of yourself as an indication that you will also take care of their apartment.
- Don't be Late: When you have set a time to meet with the landlord or his representatives, make sure you either arrive on time or a few minutes early, just as you would with a job interview. Additionally, if you need to reschedule or cancel a meeting you should always call in advance to do so versus just not showing up. It not only shows respect for the prospective landlord but it also shows your landlord that you are organized and punctual and may provide comfort with respect to your doing the same with the payment of rent.
- If You Own a Pet: If you have a pet and if the landlord's property is pet friendly, the landlord will be concerned whether your pet is well behaved and trained. As Landlords will often avoid renters with pets in favor of renters without pets, pet owners should offer a pet interview that will provide the landlord an opportunity to make a personal assessment of the pet's behavior and demeanor and of the pet owner's management of the pet. Additionally, it is also beneficial to provide a pet reference letter from a prior landlord if available.
Following the above suggestions will help you show your prospective landlord that you will be a responsible tenant who will both pay the rent on time and take care of the landlord's apartment. Overall, treat applying for a new apartment like you are applying for a job and know that in tight rental markets there are typically a number of applicants for apartments and that you will dramatically improve your odds for success if you are prepared, professional and polite.