There are plenty of articles online about what indicates a good landlord, but the signs of a good tenant are less clear. Luckily, there are ways to show that you would be a good prospective tenant throughout the rental process.
Below, we’ve provided a few ways that will help you show what a great tenant you would be:
Provide a clear and detailed application
Your rental application is your first chance to make a good impression on your prospective landlord or property manager and to show them what you’re about. Remember, this is about putting your best foot forward, so you should complete the application by providing all of the necessary information, documents, and references.
You will likely be asked to provide personal information such as your full name, mailing address, and contact information, so make sure you note these in your application accurately.
Other considerations for your rental application
Other key aspects of your rental application include your credit and rental history as well as your criminal record. Most landlords and property managers will also include a section to verify your employment.
Finally, landlords or property managers are likely to ask for information regarding your financial situation such as your income and banking statements.
Again, it’s worth taking the time to go through the application as carefully as possible and making sure that you are providing all of the necessary information and documentation.
While it’s usually not mandatory, providing a well thought out cover letter about why you would like to rent the apartment can also help distinguish your application.
If you’d like a little more help with rental applications, check out our beginner’s guide to the rental application process.
Provide the right documents
This goes hand in hand with providing a clear rental application. Simply noting your personal and financial information is usually not enough, and you will probably be asked to provide actual documentation regarding your income, employment, bank statements, credit and rental history, and references. You are much likelier to make a good first impression by providing these documents in a timely manner and in the correct, official format.
Including these documents may seem like a pain, but being asked to do so should be taken as a good sign, provided you don’t notice any red flags about the rental. Ultimately, you want a landlord or property manager who follows a clear procedure and vets tenants carefully. After all, these could be your future neighbors!
Get good references
Whether these are from former landlords, managers at your job, coworkers, mentors, or professors and teachers, great references can make your application stand out and show that you would be a reliable tenant.
It’s important to note that it’s best to choose references who are as unbiased as possible while still being able to attest to your character.
Former landlords make for great references if you are still on good terms, as do current or former managers and coworkers. If you have no prior rental history, an individual affiliated with your university or school can also serve as a good reference.
Conversely, you shouldn’t choose anyone who is very close to you as a reference, since landlords and property managers could see them as biased. For this reason, partners, family members, or good friends should not serve as references.
Be a good communicator
Communication goes both ways, but responding to the landlord or property manager’s inquiries as promptly as possible will further show that you would be a reliable tenant. During the rental application process, they may ask for additional information by calling or emailing you. Responding to their questions and requests within a reasonable timeframe shows that you are responsible and reliable and will further boost your chances of being accepted as a tenant.
Having a fast response time also shows that you are well-organized, which is another plus.
Respect the landlord or property manager’s time
Property tours, meetings (whether in-person or online), and other appointments are a common part of the rental process. You should make an effort to show up on time or even early to these appointments. By budgeting your time wisely and making this happen, you’re showing the landlord or property manager that you respect their time and your own. Being late to these appointments reflects poorly on your sense of responsibility and time management. Both of these qualities are important indicators of a tenant paying their rent on time, so it’s worth being extra careful in this area in order to make a good impression.
Ace the interview
Your application has been reviewed and accepted, and now the landlord or property manager is asking for a face-to-face interview. They’ll probably view this interview as a chance to prescreen you and ascertain whether you’d be a good tenant. Similarly, this is your chance to see what the landlord or property manager is about. As the prospective tenant, this is also a chance for you to show off your personality and establish that you would be a reliable, drama free renter.
First, it’s worth noting that making good eye contact, presenting as professional an appearance as possible, and being polite will get you far.
Landlords and property managers also use interviews to ask about anything of concern, which leads us to the next key point.
Be honest and upfront
Again, most landlords and property managers will ask about anything of concern during the interview process.
This means they will likely ask for more information regarding any possible criminal convictions, evictions, or other issues flagged on your financial or credit history.
It’s good to remember that you have gotten to the interview stage because the landlord or property manager likes your application. As such, if they ask about these issues, they are likely trying to see how you react under pressure and whether there is a reasonable explanation for the issues they’ve flagged.
Some tips for more difficult interview questions
Remember that In these situations, it’s always best to be honest and upfront with the landlord or property manager and to answer their questions in as straightforward a manner as possible. Avoiding the questions or giving excuses will not be as helpful as giving a calm explanation.
Know your rights
That being said, it is good to know renters’ rights in your state and to remember that discrimination based on your nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity, familial status, religion, disability, and color is illegal.
Landlords and property managers ask you questions to gauge whether you would be a good tenant, so you should feel free to also ask them any questions you may have about renting with them. Asking questions shows that you have done your due diligence and that you are an informed tenant. Some good things to ask about include their history as a landlord or property manager, whether they have other commitments, and how much time they spend servicing their rentals. If you’re still stuck on what to ask, check out our guide to the most important questions to ask when looking for a rental home.
To summarize our main tips, as a good prospective tenant you should start by providing a detailed rental application that includes all the right documents. It also helps to have strong personal references. As a prospective tenant, you also want to show the landlord or property manager that you value their time as much as your own—being punctual for meetings (online or in-person) and responding promptly to emails or phone calls can go a long way toward demonstrating your sense of responsibility. Finally, you should ace the interview by being honest about any potential issues in your rental or credit history. Knowing your rights as a renter and asking the landlord any questions you might have will make the interview productive for you as well. Considering these points during the rental application process will help you show the landlord or property manager that you would be a great tenant.