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What landlords should look for in a tenant and how to be a good renter

Posted by Rona Fischman June 29, 2012 01:49 PM

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I invited Matthew Boyes-Watson and Raleigh Werner -- the co-founders of RentPrefs, to give their take on the way to start a smooth rental process.

How to help landlords help you

As discussed in last week’s post, if you’re planning on looking for an apartment with a September first lease, don’t hesitate to start looking now. This post will cover how to differentiate yourself from the scores of other apartment-seekers in Boston. This can get you a leg up on signing the lease you want as quickly as possible and leave the competition in the dust. The key to locking up your new place is a simple combination of providing the right information at the right time.

Put your mouth where your money is

If you can pay the rent, have the papers to prove it when you’re looking at apartments. If you can show that you’re in good financial standing to a landlord upfront, you can greatly increase your chances of securing a lease to a place you love. As a reference, a solid credit score (650+) is an easy metric for landlords to digest and lends third-party credibility to renters. Landlords are fundamentally risk-averse (with good reason) and like to know they’re working with reliable tenants. If your credit is below 650, then having a notarized guarantor form will assuage any solvency fears on the spot. Having your guarantor and a notary ready to complete the form right after you find a place you like will give you an edge over less prepared apartment-seekers.

Bigger is better

The longer the lease, the bigger the payday for landlords. If you’re sure you love a place and already know you’ll be renting for more than a year, you should let the landlord know upfront. They’ll give priority status to any renter who can commit to more than a one-year lease (especially if that renter has proven he or she can foot the bill). Landlords are always looking for ways to fill vacancies and reduce apartment turnover. It’s truly a win-win for renters and landlords if a renter can commit to a long-term lease.

Respect the territory Beyond the financial vetting of renters, landlords need to know that their property will be treated well. The security deposit is a tool to incentivize renters to keep their apartments intact, but as property owners, landlords don’t want to think about having to use that money to fund repairs. Gather up some solid references from your current and/or former landlord and show them off. This gesture will add another layer of credibility to your case for tenancy and also takes some stress out of the equation for landlords, which will grease the wheels for you to get an apartment you really like. Once you’re in, do the basics Pay your rent. Don’t break things. Keep the volume reasonable. Don’t cause problems for your neighbors. Follow these steps and you’ll bolster your rental history, while also making yourself more marketable with a landlord reference for the next time you rent.

Do you have anything to add to these basics?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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