Put your best foot forward and keep it out of your mouth when you're talking to a prospective landlord.
Presenting yourself in person:
Don't be late for a meeting with a landlord. Don't skip out on a meeting either. A landlord may assume that if you bail on a meeting, you'll be likely to bail on rent. If you have to reschedule, call as soon as possible.
Manners matter. Being rude or demanding will not get you in the
door to a new place faster. What landlord wants to deal with a tenant
with an attitude who doesn't care about other people?
Dress like you're going to work or to a job interview. "Neat and
clean" communicates how you plan to take care of your rental home.'
Don't give personal information over the phone (income, family information, why you're looking for a rental home). Meet the landlord in person at the rental unit first, and then sell yourself as a good tenant.
Prepare a script that you can read out lout if you are directed to voicemail. Not only will your message contain all of the important details, but you will also sound more "professional." Who wouldn't want a tenant with all of their ducks in a row?
Talking about eviction or a bad rental history:
"Have you ever been evicted?" is a loaded question and is often used to disqualify applicants BEFORE she or he is given a chance to apply. Don't say "yes" or it may be over before you can even explain. A sure fire way to respond to questions like this is: "what is your policy on prior eviction?"
Time matters in your answer eviction or anything else bad on your record. Most everyone is allowed a youthful discretion if you can show that your behavior has changed. Example: I was evicted in 1980 but not since then.
Explanations matter: I was evicted when a room mate skipped out on me and left me with a lease I couldn't afford. I have learned my lesson since then, and paid off the whole debt.
Be positive- don't tell the landlord all your problems.
Landlords are generally not social workers. They are concerned about their business needs, not your family needs. Don't tell them how unfair life has been. They may interpret this as making excuses, rather than taking responsibility.
Think about what landlords want in a prospective tenant and tell them how you can meet their expectations.
*Special thanks to Joyce Hill and Patti Morrow for their input in creating the content on this page.
social media "tells" your prospective landlord If
you are a poker player, you know about "tells"--little
gestures that your opponent makes across the table that signal
something about their cards. Social media could be a "tell"
to a prospective landlord. Photos of drunken parties, complaints
about conditions or current landlords, associations with other
"deadbeats" could be shaping your rental profile.
York Times article,
Haley Mlotek wrote: "When I considered social media at all, I
usually dismissed it as nonsense: a goof, a lark, something silly for
those moments when I didn’t want to work or wait for a date. I
recognized how vain the entire enterprise was — I don’t post
photos of my lavender hair for my health, I do it for the
ego-boosting flood of likes — but I still held on to the belief
that I wasn’t taking anything too seriously." Maybe
it's time to get more serious about what you say about yourself on
a prospective landlord require me to provide my Twitter handle or
Facebook page? Well...not require exactly, but landlord may deny
your application if you don't provide the info. Your postings on
social media are a public record.
social media screening a violation of fair housing rights? In the
hands of an unwary or naive landlord, maybe, but most professional
landlords know that they have to be careful to consider only info
that is relevant to the question of whether your behavior makes you
suitable as a tenant. Still, if it's a "tie score" on the
factual criteria, the impressions from social media could make a
difference. Example: Two applicants with comparable credit report
and landlord references, but one applicant used social media to
complain about or ridicule the current rental home or landlord.
a prospective landlord looking for on my social media accounts? All
Property Manage says: "Social media can provide all sorts of
useful information about potential tenants, and can be particularly
useful for confirming information on their rental applications."
the Chicago Tribune tackled this issue a couple years ago in
their article recommended that landlords use caution, but admitted
that it's unlikely that a prospective tenant would be able to find
out what info was accessed.
too, there's the problem of having a data broker scoop up your social
media info and bundle the into with lots of other data about you into
a "profile" and sell that "profile" to a
prospective landlord. Your prospective landlord may not even know the
source of the info that ended up with a screening profile like:
"Rolling the dice" or "Small Town, Shallow Pockets".
More here and here and here.
beware! You are creating the evidence that may be used against you
when you post about yourself on line. Think of social media as a
billboard...not a personal friend.