How to Land Your Perfect Rental in a Competitive Rental Market

Renting property has become more and more difficult especially for younger renters in rent controlled markets.  Property owners can be very selective because competition for the perfect place is fierce. Finding the property, scheduling appointments and completing the requirements can be very time consuming tasks.  As a property manager and a leasing agent, I have experienced and seen plenty of examples of what to do and what NOT to do when searching for your perfect rental home. Here’s a quick list of tips that I put together for the newbie in hopes that their experience will be painless, effective and fast. 

Consider What You Can Afford and Gather up Proof:

Before you start your search, gather up your income information to determine what your comfortable rental price range will be.  Most places will require two and half to three times the rental price as income in order to qualify, and that’s if you have good credit. If you are moving in with roommates and combining income in order to qualify, ask them to do the same. Proof of income can include things like verifiable pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements.

Will your credit score help you or hurt you?

What do most places require as good credit?  That’s really up to the rental owner or the person who selects the occupants.  Definitely ask this person what a minimum acceptable score is for that particular place. If you have no credit or no way to have someone check your credit history, be prepared to pay some rent up front or to leave a larger deposit and check the rules in your state for any amount set as the max amount that can be charged as a deposit. A credit-worthy guarantor may also be able to help you lock in a lease. Be mindful that your guarantor gets added to your lease and will be responsible if you, or you and your roommates, can’t meet your obligations. 

Is this the right place for your furry pet?

If you have a pet and bring it to the tour, make sure it’s well behaved and doesn’t pee all over everything. Be considerate of others who may be at the showing and are not comfortable with animals. Ask if it’s ok for your pet to run around loose before you allow him to do so. Ask about pet deposits and/or pet rent. Look at the unit and see if it’s suitable for your pet; does it have carpet, access to outdoor space?… Consider these things before you commit.

Assume it is what it is; ask for extras only after you qualify.

Don’t ask for extra amenities if you’re not sure that you’ll qualify for the place. I had a prospective tenant walk through the rental requesting that central air conditioning and a motorized gate be installed because she was willing to pay more rent. She failed to mention that her credit score was only 518 and she would require additional roommates in order to qualify. She had not found roommates yet either.

First Impressions Count!

Please be on time. In this rental market, you can make yourself stand out by simply arriving to your appointment on time and even texting the person meeting you there to let them know you have arrived. Same thing goes if something changes and you can’t make it. Try to give the leasing agent ample enough time to reverse course if you have to cancel. If you have children, make sure they are well behaved in the property. Don’t let them run amok, screaming through the house putting fingerprints on walls. If they use the bathroom, make sure it’s flushed and left in the same condition they found it. Yes, I have seen these things happen!

Don’t Off-Road the Application Guidelines and Communicate Changes of Heart

Another way to make an impression is to simply follow the application guidelines.  If you are instructed to upload financial documents or email them, don’t send them via text message as a photograph. If you are told that every person 18 and over should submit an application, don’t complete an application for that person using all of your information all over again. Follow through on what’s asked. The leasing agent understands that people get busy with their everyday lives outside of their house search and her job is to make sure that you complete your application so a decision can be made. If you change your mind about the place, just communicate that so the leasing agent is not wasting time chasing you down to do so. 

Be honest

Don’t lie about income or anything on your application.  Did you know that most leases have a clause in them that will allow the landlord to terminate your tenancy based on falsified information on your application? Other things can cause a breach in your lease like smoking in the unit when the landlord has made it clear that smoking is not allowed.  Just know that any info you state may be verified.

Communicate with references in advance

If you have a specific timeline for moving, make sure your current landlord knows of your intention to move; even if you’re not sure about providing specific notice. You can count on having your landlord reference verified and you don’t want to have your current landlord be surprised to hear that you are planning on moving. Other questions that may be asked of your landlord include how often has the tenant been late with rent, how long has the tenant lived there and how much rent is paid.

Bring your smile!

Have a good attitude when you visit the property.  Don’t visit when you are feeling sick or on your way to a funeral.  Remember the person showing you the unit may be your future property manager. Stink faces are memorable but not in a good way and you don’t want that face to settle in as part of your first impression.

The Proud Crowd Leasing Services

Searching for the perfect place is a task but it doesn’t have to be. Call The Proud Crowd Realty for experienced help or guidance. If you are relocating to Los Angeles, our Realtors will search for property that meets your criteria, preview it, present you as a prospective tenant, negotiate for you and ensure that a thorough walk thru is completed before you move in. The cost for our service is negotiable and in some cases, a commission is paid by the property owner so our service would be free to you.  Call us at 310.601.7436 for more information.

If you have a property that you are looking to rent out, call us for a complimentary rent survey and assessment on how to maximize your rent. For a reasonable cost that includes our experience and your peace of mind, we will find the perfect tenant for you!

The Proud Crowd Realty is a full-service family-owned, boutique brokerage in Los Angeles, California. Our services include multi-family, commercial and residential sales and leasing and property management. 


Molly Ochoa
Broker Associate, DRE # 01933675

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