VOLUME V6 Ways to Strengthen the Rental ApplicationBy Jonathan PressmanRealtors want to get their clients approved for the first single-family home or condo rental they apply for. Unfortunately, that’s not always realistic. There are, however, certain tips that Realtors can use to help their clients strengthen a rental application, increasing the likelihood of getting approved for the first choice. Here are six suggestions.

1. Ask for More Money Up FrontWhenever landlords agree to lease a property to a tenant, they assume certain risks, like nonpayment or damage to the property. In addition to a security deposit to guard against property damage, offering more money upfront can provide an extra layer of monetary security for property owners.

2. Use a GuarantorGuarantors provide a personal guarantee to repay a debt or rent, serving as a backstop in the event tenants are unable to make their payments. Landlords and property managers want to see that tenants have the means to pay their rent. Guarantors are an important addition to applications for individuals with low credit, limited funds or a lack of income history.3. Sign Up for a RentSURETY AgreementInquire with prospective tenants about whether they’d be willing to agree to programs like RentSURETY. A RentSURETY Agreement offers tenants a means for giving a landlord added financial security. For an average monthly installment of around $55 paid for by the tenant, RentSURETY provides the landlord with a guarantee that the rent will be paid in full for up to 60 days if a tenant fails to pay or vacates the property prior to the end of the lease term. RentSURETY acts as an insurance policy for landlords against prospective tenants with a less-than-stellar application. Then, if needed, RentSURETY will pay the rent retroactively from the date of nonpayment.

4. Thoroughly Complete All DocumentationThoroughly completing the entire application—along with submitting all supporting documentation—can go a long way to expediting approval. If a landlord or property manager has two competing applications, they may be inclined to select the one that’s already completed in full, simply for convenience’s sake.

5. Include a Cover Letter (and References)Writing a cover letter can help tenants distinguish themselves from other applicants and give the application a personal touch. A cover letter is also useful for sharing more information about the applicants, including their job longevity, interest in the home and financial background as reliable tenants. Applicants can also include reference contact information. The ideal reference for a lease application would come from a previous landlord, who can attest to the individual’s record as a tenant. For those renting a home for the first time, a manager or coworker can serve as a reference, while students and recent graduates can ask teachers to vouch on their behalf.
6. Add a Letter of ExplanationThe Letter of Explanation can be used to assist in answering questions that may make the property owner hesitant to rent to the applicant. Unlike the cover letter, which is used to highlight the best reasons to rent to these tenants, the Letter of Explanation brings up past rental concerns (i.e., sketchy credit report, background check problems, evictions) and what preventative measures have been taken to avoid these issues from happening again.

The key to strengthening a rental application ultimately rests in being able to convince a landlord or property manager of a tenant’s reliability and trustworthiness. In a competitive market, everything Realtors can do to strengthen a tenant’s application can be the difference between approval and rejection.

Repairs: Who Pays for What?

For a landlord, a rental property is an uphill battle against mishaps, calamities, the hands of time and sometimes nature itself. To guard their investment, property owners must plan ahead, maneuver tactfully and sometimes be prepared to cut their losses.


Can Pet-Friendly Homes Bring Better Tenants?

“Do you have a pet-friendly policy?” It’s a common question that landlords receive before attempting to rent a single-family home.


Tenant Modifications That Make a Happy Home

Although some modifications cannot be considered such as replacing all the flooring or repainting the entire home, allowing minor modifications helps tenants feel like a rental property is indeed “home."


Rekey for Tenant Safety

Each state will exhibit different property code requirements for rekeying rentals. This is partially due to the demographics and population needs of individual landlords and tenants.


How To Protect Yourself From Marginal Applicants

Property managers and landlords are often faced with uncomfortable choices: to rent to the well-meaning but credit-challenged tenants or wait until the ideal candidates pop up.