5 Tips To Make a Private Landlord Say Yes to Your Rental Assistance Program
Based on our experience we have found that 3 out of 5 private landlords who normally own 1 – 4 unit buildings would accept a tenant with rental assistance over a cash tenant. Even in cases where they were set on selecting a cash tenant they reversed course and chose instead a tenant with a program. In all cases they either liked the tenant with a program or did so along with the combination of the assurance that the rent would be paid each month free of excuses. Among this group of landlords some revealed they would NEVER accept a tenant with a program, no matter what. But many others revealed they were turned off from the applicant by something that was said on the phone or a behavior observed during the interview. Here are a few tips from observing tenants who were actually successful in convincing a landlord to accept their rental assistance program.
#1. PROVIDE PROGRAM DOCUMENTATION – If your program is Section 8, GREAT. Good or bad most landlords have an opinion about the program. But if you are working with HASA, Cityfeps, TBRA, Hud-Vash, Enhanced One Shot Deal, Public Assistance, or some other novel program, there is a good chance your landlord never heard of it, will not be impressed by the many financial incentives and will have many questions. Tip – Have some printed information about the program from a reputable government source. All landlords will conduct their own independent research after the interview and the information you provide them will provide some positive facts before they discover all the angry landlords on the web with a bad experience. This will assure them your program is authentic and established. Additionally, become an expert on your program. Be able to answer all questions. Such as, who do I call if the rent is late? What are my options if I choose to not renew the lease? How long will the program support your rent? You better believe if they discover you gave them the wrong answer it will badly damage your credibility.
#2. HAVE YOUR CASEWORKER’S BUSINESS CARD – After a day of interviewing most landlords notes are scrambled and not legible. They may have liked you but could have easily forgotten some important facts about you. Tip: You will have better success if the landlord can easily find your paperwork. Have a copy of your caseworker’s business card available. Also write your phone number on the back of the business card for easy reference.
#3. HAVE SOME SAVINGS – You might not be required to pay any significant rent but landlords want to establish that you are a responsible individual who will pay your portion of the rent. If you report zero savings any landlord will question your ability to pay your portion of the rent timely. Tip: (a). Have a bank account. (b). consistently save enough each month to pay your portion of the rent. (c). each month always withdraw less than you save.
#4. ALWAYS PRAISE NOT CRITICIZE – Small landlords commit a lot of time and resources into preparing an apartment. They want to always feel their work is appreciated and that the incoming tenant will maintain the apartment. It doesn’t help if you start to complain about minor details. The interview should be all positive and if you have nothing positive to say about the apartment, say nothing. Tip: Compliment any details you like about the apartment. Avoid criticism at all cost. If you don’t like the apartment keep your views private. You would be surprised how many tenants have a change of heart after being quite critical, only to be told the another applicant was selected. The landlord later expressed being shocked at their interest after numerous complaints.
#5. PREPARE CHILDREN FOR INTERVIEW – The fair housing act of 1978 made it illegal for landlords to deny potential tenants with household members under 18 years old. But if your kids are running around the apartment during the interview there’s a good chance another family will be selected. Tip: Hold a family meeting with the kids before the interview. Explain the importance of them being on best behavior. It would help to develop a longterm solution rather than a quick-fix. Children should be on best behavior at all times.
After gaining an understanding of why some landlords will not accept your rental assistance program you will use these tips to convince them you are different. Some landlords will take more convincing than others and hopefully you will not be disheartened. For more information how to have a winning interview with your landlord, read The Perfect Tenant. If you are a Landlord with an apartment for rent please, contact us to register your apartment at 914-299-0420.