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 (6 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.


  • I always call people that give numbers rather than email them. Emails can be ignored. Phone calls are harder to ignore.
  • 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.

posted by saeculorum at 9:51 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

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

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