10 Things Landlords Want to Know Before They Rent
So you are ready to rent an apartment with your rental voucher and expect landlords will be super enthused to rent to you. And why not. This is what you were led to believe.
But after a few weeks and in some cases many months renters with Cityfeps, HASA, Section 8, TBRA and HudVash are experiencing that landlords are not welcoming them with wide open arms. Instead, renters felt they were largely rejected because they had a voucher, while landlords expressed other factors influenced their decision not to accept the tenant. To further prove this point landlords disclosed they did go on to accept a tenant who had rental assistance. So why the confusion over what landlords want and what renters expect?
Here’s the ultimate truth. Landlords expect the same core qualities from all renters with or without rental assistance. Landlords are motivated to select tenants who will: 1. Follow the lease rules. 2 Not disturb other tenants and neighbors. 3. Pay rent on time. In addition, this year in particular the covid-pandemic have led to many tenants not paying rent after their rental assistance voucher term expired. While, landlords are not allowed to start a court action. Considering the uncertainty of the courts reopening landlords are not going to rent until they are absolutely confident about their decision.
To increase your odds of winning over your next landlord remember the tools they will use to make a rental decision, observation and questions. We have a compiled a list of things to expect when you meet a landlord for your next apartment interview.
#1. EMPLOYMENT QU – How long have you been at your present employer? Landlord is trying to determine stability.
#2. LIFE BEFORE SHELTER QU – What is the last apartment you rented before entering the shelter and why did you have to give it up? Landlord is trying to collect information about your past behavior and establish if any negative behavior will repeat itself.
#3. SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS – Expect that a landlord will use your name to lookup your Facebook page. They are looking to discover any history that portrays the tenant as a negative person. Photos of any tenant’s drinking alcohol, partying, using drugs or gang affiliation may disqualify them from consideration.
#4. DRESS CASUAL OR IN WORK CLOTHES – On more than 1 occasion a family showed up for the interview in their pajamas. This is almost as bad as showing up in a full 3 piece suit. Landlords want to feel your persona is believable. A jeans and shirt is great. A work uniform says a lot and its all positive. Wearing pajamas just highlights a lack of respect for the landlord.
#5. BANK STATEMENT – Yes, landlords can randomly request to see your most recent bank statement even if you have rental assistance. They will use the information to confirm if your monthly income minus your expenditures is sufficient to cover your contribution towards the rent. If you are a working client with rental assistance, very low savings indicate your finances are not stable. They expect that if you are living in the shelter with minimal overhead expenses you should be able to save at least 30% of your income. If your bank statement is stacked with Amazon and fast food deliveries, miscellaneous personal items and almost no savings they will see your ability to pay your portion of the rent as highly unlikely.
#7. SMOKING – No landlord is tolerable of a tenant who is a heavy smoker. If you smoke and express that you will only smoke outside a landlord may accept this as fact. But if they observe you smoking like a chimney outside before the interview they will see only you as a liability or a bother to other tenants who do not smoke
#8. CHILDREN SUPERVISION QU – Who will babysit the kids while you are at work? They want to determine if your children will have no adult supervision or if a third party will be residing in the apartment to help with daycare services.
#9 DO NOT HARM – Unsolicited disclosure of negative information. Landlords want to avoid all drama. Any questions for information from your past is seeking to confirm you will do no harm while living at the residence. For example, the landlord ask, “why did you move from your last apartment”? This is an actual very wrong response, “I had to get out of there real quick. I was selling drugs and the cops came so I ran and never went back. But its all good now with the police and me.” Your response should never paint you or your family in a negative light.
10. RECYCLING – Do you recycle? Landlords are fined $350 and up for poorly sorted garbage. The fines are never issued directly to the tenant by the local Department of Sanitation. If your response suggest you do not understand how to properly sort your garbage the landlord may see you as high risk. For example. The landlord asked, “do you recycle where you are now”? The response, “No. We just throw everything out and the shelter takes care of the garbage.” is not the best answer. A better answer would be, “presently at the shelter we do not recycle but at the last apartment I lived at before entering the shelter my family followed all recycling policies.”
You should take your interview very seriously. Every landlord conducting a proper pre-screening interview want to be assured the tenant they select will be truly qualified. This is the chance to highlight your family best qualities. For more information how to ace your landlord interview and how to think like a landlord read The Perfect Tenant.