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What do landlords want to know?
July 1, 2012 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a new apartment. Landlords of MeFi, what information should be in the initial email?

My sweetie and I are starting to look for a new apartment in New Orleans. (We've lived here a while, so we already know the neighborhoods and such.) I'm struggling a little with how much information to put in that first email in response to a posting on Craigslist (or wherever). I don't want to give too little, so that I seem sketchy, but I don't want to overwhelm with a huge infodump either. I also don't want to give out a bunch of personal information to someone who turns out to be a scammer.

Relevant details:

I would be moving with my long-term boyfriend

We can take some time to look--we have a good relationship with our current landlord, but we want more privacy (right now we share a yard with our pleasant but loud neighbors) and a better location

We are good renters, and both have a steady income. I have a very wholesome and community-oriented job (preschool teacher)

We are non-smokers

We have one well-behaved indoor cat

If you've ever handled the rental process, how much of this information do you need or want? Anything I definitely shouldn't do?
Thanks, hive-mind!
posted by Nibbly Fang to Human Relations (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am landlord. The informationyou list there is plenty - enough to attract any landlord with a vacancy.

There is no need for you to reveal more until you are looking at a place and completing an application.
posted by Flood at 9:50 AM on July 1, 2012

Hello (person),

I am interested in the apartment at (address). I would be moving with another person and my one well-behaved indoor cat. We are non-smokers. We both have a steady income of (multiplier)x the rent of the apartment. If it's still available, call me at (number) or email me.


posted by saeculorum at 9:51 AM on July 1, 2012

Not currently a landlord but have experience in the rental process on both sides of the table. I think what you have in your question is fine. If it's a property management company or a landlord with more than one building I usually include the number of bedrooms/bathrooms and budget I am looking in. No need to waste anyone's time if they only have studios that are priced above what I'm willing to consider.

If my income is much greater than the rent (say, more than 4-5x the rent), I wouldn't mention that so the landlord doesn't know I am deliberately picking an apartment less than my income. I am in that scenario now.

I was confused by this. Why would that matter to the landlord?

posted by sm1tten at 10:12 AM on July 1, 2012

sm1tten: I think it's easier for a landlord to consider rent increases when the landlord knows you can handily afford them. It's just a personal superstition without evidentiary justification.
posted by saeculorum at 10:28 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think that the information you've included is great! I'm not sure what the rental market is like in New Orleans, but if you can sign a 2-year lease vs. a 1-year leave that will move you to the top of the list for a lot of landlords.

(I'm a former landlord, and in my town properties rent in a matter of days. The most desirable ones will often have multiple qualified applicants.)
posted by Ostara at 10:54 AM on July 1, 2012

I'm a property manager and the information you gave sounds fine and would put you far ahead of most of the email I get about craigslist apartment listings.
posted by Melsky at 5:28 PM on July 1, 2012

Well, cool. Thank you very much, everybody.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 6:22 PM on July 1, 2012

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