Friday, October 20, 2017
By John Rayborn
How to Make a Landlord Pick YOU as Their Tenant

How to Make a Landlord Pick YOU as Their Tenant

So you’ve entered the market for a rental home—congratulations!

As you search for your dream home, here are some things to consider:

Only look at homes that are within your budget. A landlord’s number one goal is to take sure that you can pay the rent on time. Although rental requirements differ, we suggest that your monthly income be at least three times the monthly rent.  For example, if you earn $40,000 a year ($3,333 per month) your rent budget should be no more than $1,111 per month. Do you have alternative sources of income? Although you are not required to disclose income such as alimony, child support, disability, retirement, etc. they can help show that you can afford the rent.

Know your credit history. Having enough money to qualify is merely the first step in the rental process. Running a tenant credit check is standard practice in the industry. Credit scores can range from 300 to 850 and different landlords will have different requirements. In general, first-time renters (those having a limited credit history vs. having a poor credit history) may get a bit more leniency when it comes to having a low credit score. If you have a longer credit history with a few blemishes on your credit report, be honest with your potential landlord. Give an explanation as to why your credit is lower than you’d like it to be and let them know what you’ve been doing to improve it.

Have enough funds in your bank account to cover move-in costs. Most property managers will charge fees for the application process (application, credit check, etc.) You will also need enough money in the bank to cover the first month’s rent (some landlords also require last month’s rent), security deposit, pet deposits, etc. Generally, most deposits are refundable upon vacating the property in good condition under the terms of your lease.

Don’t hide your pet. Cautious landlords often avoid tenants with pets, and if allowed, most will require a pet deposit. If you are approved as a tenant in a pet-free home and you are found to have a pet, it can be  grounds for eviction (which will be a black mark on your rental history when you go to rent your next home.) If you live in a pet-friendly home and are found to have a pet you didn’t disclose on your application, you are still in violation of your lease. Either way, having a pet on the premises without permission diminishes your chances of a good reference after you move out.

Submitting a rental application is similar to submitting a job application—the fit has to work both ways. Once you’re ready to submit your rental application, here are some tips that will make you a more attractive tenant, especially if you’re in a competitive market where rentals often have multiple applicants:

Fill out the application completely and submit all requested documents. Not only does it show that you can follow directions, but if there are multiple applicants and only one submits a complete application package, who do you think is going to be selected? Many property management companies won’t take the time to track down your missing documents. Make sure you submit everything that is required to apply from the get-go.

Send in a personal letter with your application. Introduce yourself, share with the owner the reason you’d like to rent their home, explain any circumstances (good or not-so-good) that may help sway the decision maker to select you as their tenant. Make sure to let them know your best tenant qualities, such as cleanliness, timeliness in payments, intent to treat their property well, etc.

Offer to put down a larger security deposit. Landlords want to protect their investment. Offering to put down more than a standard deposit can be especially helpful if your credit score isn’t so great, if you have a pet, or if you have a limited work/rental history. Since most security deposits are refundable, there isn’t much risk to losing the money as long as you don’t damage the home.

Offer to pay more rent. If a landlord has two identical applications, a tenant who offers to pay a nominal amount more in rent may tip the scales in their favor. When rentals are scarce, this can mean the difference between getting the home you want and continuing your housing search.

Offer to pay a month or two of rent in advance. Landlords want a tenant who can pay their rent on time. Being ahead of the game can help you get in a landlord’s good graces. If your credit score is low, your work history is short, or your rental history isn’t great this may be just what a landlord needs to feel comfortable renting their property to you.

Suggest a pet interview and check with your rental insurance provider. This is something you can suggest in your  personal letter or put in your application. If you have a pet (especially of a breed with a bad reputation) inviting a landlord to meet your pet and showing them their good behavior may be the ticket to getting approved. You should also check with your rental insurance provider to see if you can get additional coverage for your pet. After all, a landlord is merely trying to protect their property and reduce their liability.

Here at We Rent Homes, we try to make the process of finding a home as stress free as possible. All of our available homes are listed online and some are even available to be shown without an agent, so you can view them at your convenience. Once you’ve selected a home, the application process can be completed online 24/7 so you don’t need to take time out of your busy day to come to our office (although we’d be happy to help you submit an application should you need additional assistance.)

Do you want to make the transition from renter to homeowner? We can help! Many of our homes have an Option to Purchase under First Right of Refusal ("Option"). This gives you the opportunity to purchase the home within a specified timeframe at a specified price. It is not mandatory and you are under no obligation to purchase the home. It simply gives you a set price for the home should you wish to make it yours permanently at some point in the future.

Our first-rate customer service does not stop once you sign a lease. We provide numerous tools to save you time and effort. By using our Tenant Portal, you can pay rent online, submit maintenance requests 24/7, and contact our staff. Our team of professionals is quick to respond and resolve all of your tenant needs.

Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff help you find your next home!

To view our current vacancies and submit an application visit