Increase Your Chances of Approval.
When you apply for an apartment to rent you need to be prepared. When I was first called to meet my future landlord, I hadn’t a clue how to prepare.
Was there a type of landlord and tenant “etiquette” I needed to know? Would I have to dress to a certain way to create the right impression? I didn’t realize just how important it was to plan and prepare for meeting my potential landlord.
From preparing your application to good tenant etiquette during an apartment appointment, we provide simple guidelines you can follow to impress your future landlord and get approved for a lease.
How Do I Apply for an Apartment?
Getting approved for an apartment requires some research into the process of renting, understanding what a lease entails, and when to sign a lease. It is also about understanding what category of renter you are. Once you choose a rental, you need to contact the landlord or property manager to apply for a lease.
When you apply for a lease, your landlord will perform a credit check and will request proof of income. The purpose is to determine your financial eligibility. The application process is pretty straightforward and structured. If you are applying for a second chance apartment, read your lease very carefully. This will help you understand the unique requirements of a second chance apartment.
Whether you have suffered bankruptcy or a prior eviction, provide your landlord with references depending on the reason for your second chance application.
What to Include in an Apartment Rental Application
Treat your rental application as though you were applying for a new job that you really want! Some of the basic information requested by a landlord includes:
Proof of employment
Proof of salary
Former landlord contact details
A cover letter stating your intention to rent the advertised apartment.
Along with the above requirements, a standard form issued by the rental company or landlord must be completed by the account holder.
Create the right impression by completing all required fields on the designated application.
To apply for an apartment, you can check out our resource on How to Be Approved for an Apartment. We look at specific renter requirements, credit checks, and second chance apartments.
How to Make Your Application Stand Out!
Prior to meeting with a landlord, you will prepare an application for the apartment of choice. You won’t be the only one applying, so you need to find a way to make your application stand out.
Let’s make your apartment application a rewarding one by looking at what landlords require in a tenant.
Answer All Questions on the Rental Application
A landlord who doesn’t have to make contact to get the incomplete answer on a rental application will be more impressed by a thorough future tenant. If you are unsure of a question on the rental application, contact the management team who should provide clarity.
Don’t try to bypass the procedure by offering higher than requested deposits or placing restrictions on certain types of personal information. Stick to the process requested by the landlord. Leave the negotiations to the appointment.
Update Your Public Social Media Accounts
Today’s landlords and property managers are using social media to learn about their tenants. Social media is widely accessible, and landlords can view your public profile if they want to.
You can leave a positive impression by keeping your social media clean, balanced, and truthful. Remember, if you conceal information on the rental application, your social media might just reveal a different story.
If your application is successful, the next part of the rental process is getting called for an interview. We look at the best ways to prepare for an appointment to discuss a lease application.
Getting Ready for the Rental Application Appointment
In a time when the housing market is at an all-time high, the demand for apartments to rent has skyrocketed. This also means that you need to put your best foot forward to land the apartment that you want.
We look at the steps you should take to create the best impression in an Apartment Interview
Impress Your Landlord by Being Over-Prepared
During an appointment, you and the landlord or property manager will discuss the rental application. A great way to create the right impression is to provide the landlord a copy of your credit report. While they will most likely have this report in their possession, it shows you are willing to play open cards.
Organize the necessary documentation from proof of ID and address to bank statements and references.
The worst first impression you can create is by arriving late for your tenant interview unless it a major disaster of course! Even if you arrive well before the scheduled appointment, rather show up early than late. This is definitely a part of starting a good tenant and landlord relationship!
What You Wear is Important
Showing up to your apartment application interview in a T-shirt and flip flops are not the way to create a positive and serious impression. Treat your interview as though you were applying for a job. A simple yet clean and formal look is the best choice when you prepare for a tenancy interview.
Adopt a Friendly Attitude
When you communicate with your future landlord, be courteous. Listen to what they say and answer in a friendly and honest manner. They will ask questions about your past, your finances, and your interest in the apartment. Don’t get defensive. The landlord or property manager will simply believe that you have something to hide.
Transparency and courteousness are key when it comes to a successful interview.
What a Landlord Cannot Ask in an Apartment Interview
While there is plenty that landlords can explore during a tenancy interview, there is a line meant to protect the rights of the applicant.
Landlords and property managers should never ask about race, religion, sex, or age. Questions surrounding these topics could be a violation of your rights to a fair and just interview. If you do have children, the initial rental application should state whether it is a familial tenancy or not. You will be asked about the number of people allowed on the lease.
Remember, a second chance apartment is different from a regular apartment interview. Things like bad credit, your past criminal record, or a poor rental history will be explored.
Why Meet with a Future Landlord to Discuss a Lease?
The reason for an apartment interview is to determine whether you are an eligible candidate for the apartment to rent.
A landlord wants to know if you are reliable, responsible, and financially prepared for the duration of the tenancy. This means paying rent on time, adhering to the rules of the lease, and the community/complex guidelines.
Second chance apartments will look at affordability, rental history, financial status, and the reason for needing a second chance rental. An interview or appointment is created to discuss your reasons for seeking a second chance apartment. This includes the steps you’ve taken to amend a prior eviction, settle outstanding debts, and show that you are looking to start afresh.
Depending on the decision of the landlord, you will discuss the terms of the lease. This is your opportunity to take some time to examine the lease and to ask your landlord to explain any conditions or definitions you don’t understand. This is important. If you are unsure of a phrase, a clause, anything in your lease, ask for clarification before you sign.
If you sign the lease and you aren’t satisfied with something you’ve read, it will be too late to renege on the contract.
It is better to ask the landlord for some extra time to read the lease than to feel pressured to sign it without fully understanding what you are signing.
Tips for Good Tenant Etiquette
There is an unspoken rule or requirement in the realm of renting and the housing market. It involves good tenant etiquette.
From the first time you meet your potential landlord, you set the tone for the landlord-tenant relationship. For the remainder of the lease, you will be interacting with the landlord or property management team and the relationship should be a smooth one.
Good tenant etiquette is about being prepared, asking questions to help you improve your application, and being transparent. It is also about understanding your rights as a lessee.
What Does it Means to be a Good Tenant?
Pay Rent On Time
Keep your landlord happy and your tenancy problem-free when you pay your rent on time. In light of COVID-19, many people are struggling to manage their rent. If you do have financial difficulty, explain this to the landlord.
Get Insurance for Your Household
Insurance provided by the landlord will cover the costs of property damage should accidents such as a fire or flood occur. It doesn’t include your valuables.
Renter’s insurance is one way you can replace belongings should they get damaged or stolen. You can learn more about renter’s insurance by checking out our guide on Renter’s Insurance and You.
Maintain the Property
For the duration of the lease, you are required to manage the condition o the property. This means that by the end of your lease, the apartment should look the way it did when you first moved in. This will help you keep your deposit.
During the rental period, if you do notice any damages or wear and tear, alert management soonest. This prevents any confusion when your lease comes to an end and whether you are responsible for the damages.
Adhere to the Property Rules
The best tenants are respectful of the apartment rules and consider their neighbors. Pushing the envelope by playing loud music, having parties, or having friends or family stay over when it’s not permitted in the lease, will simply place your tenancy in a poor light.
Understanding the complex rules and the lease terms will help you build a positive tenant and rental history for a future apartment or buying a home.
If you are unsure about the rules and regulations, always refer to the lease agreement. The lease is the contract between you and the landlord. It governs the tenancy relationship and holds both you as the renter and the landlord accountable.
To Be or Not To Be.....That is the Question!
Getting a call for an apartment interview is exciting! It means you are one step closer to landing the apartment rental you’ve had your eye on and that you can afford. Renting is simple if you prepare. Understanding what is expected of you as a renter from the very beginning will go a long way to being a successful and valuable tenant.
During the interview with a property manager or landlord, be transparent and courteous. Show them that you are serious about the apartment application. This means preparing the right documentation, dressing the part, and not trying to conceal information.
Discuss the lease with the landlord prior to signing, especially if you are unsure about certain terms and conditions. By exercising the necessary landlord and tenant etiquette, you will earn the respect of your landlord. This includes receiving a reference from the property manager at the end of your lease should you pursue another apartment or property to rent.
When you are prepared and informed, you can improve your chances of receiving approval for a lease and pursue a rewarding tenancy.