48 hrs since I turned in my lease application. No word. What going on?
February 11, 2016 5:46 PM   Subscribe

I applied for a lease for an apartment that I really like. The landlord seemed to really like me. I viewed the place last Sunday, thanked the landlord, said I was very interested and emailed her for an application. She emailed me back with the application and said that she thinks I would really like the neighbors.

On Monday, she writes back and says that she has someone else who she thinks is good who is going to look at the apartment on Wednesday and she asks me if I would like to go ahead and turn in an application since she liked me. I got it to her on Tuesday evening. And now it's Thursday evening and she hasn't apparently called my last landlord or my friend who I gave as a reference (I checked with them) and I haven't heard anything from her. It seems like calling the references would be one of the first things you would do and I am concerned that this has not yet been done.

Questions: What is a reasonable amount of time to wait for a response? How long do tenant background checks usually take? What sort of things could be delaying her? Would it be standard practice to tell me if she had found someone else to lease to? Am I just being too darn impatient?

About me: I have very good credit, but not a flawless credit history. Perfect in recent years, but significant mishap in the distant past. My income is well over the amount I would need to qualify for this amount of rent. I do have two cats, but she allows cats. She noted how cat hair can get caught in the HVAC when she was showing me the place, though.

The landlord owns the place herself, so this is not a property management company.
posted by Pablito to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd just call back tomorrow. Sometimes people can just be absent minded, especially if they're managing several properties and have a lot on their plate. I've always had to give references in lease applications and I've never once had them called. There is also a small possibility she ran a background check on the other prospective tenant as well and is waiting for that to come back, but either way a call back should be able to confirm your timeline on hearing back.
posted by capricorn at 6:04 PM on February 11, 2016

It sounds like you have competition and she will be looking into them as well. These things take time. I think you will just have to wait, I would give it a week. Good luck!
posted by Jubey at 6:32 PM on February 11, 2016

Regardless of how much she liked you, she may well be waiting to have both applications in hand before she makes a decision how to proceed. Or she may have started with a credit check. Or any number of possibilities. I would sit on my hands and I would also not stop looking at other properties, if I were you. (I have also never had a single landlord call my references, ever. I suppose it does happen, but it hasn't happened to me.) After another 24 hours, I would think it would be fair to call and ask about timeframes.
posted by frumiousb at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

It really depends on the screening that's done. When I was an apartment manager I would run into references (apartment rentals, we didn't do any personal references) that took forever to get back to us.

You'll need to check your jurisdiction's rules. Where I am, a screening fee can't be collected unless the applicant is given written screening criteria. And you have to take the first applicant who passes the screening. (not sure if this is common other places but it might be.)
posted by vespabelle at 8:16 PM on February 11, 2016

Having rented from an owner-landlord, and having been an owner-landlord, this might not mean anything at all. We were convinced we didn't get a house we desperately wanted in Seattle, because the landlord took so freaking long to get back to us... and when I finally got ahold of him, he was like, "yeah, you're fine to move in, no problem". As a landlord myself now, I use a screening service that does sometimes take a couple of days. I also have a full-time job so may be too busy to get in touch for 48 hours. I think you'd be fine to drop her a line that's like, "hey, I'm still really interested, when will you make a decision?"
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:49 PM on February 11, 2016

I've found that real estate agents generally just want to fill the room, so will take the first person who applies and checks out OK. It takes them about 24hours to get back to the successful person. When I rented off a landlord, I ended up calling her 4 days after I applied. She was considering showing it again the next weekend, as she'd already paid for the ad?! She offered it to me a few hours later after checking my references.

TLDR, landlords care more than real estate agents, and therefore take longer.
posted by kjs4 at 8:50 PM on February 11, 2016

Write her and tell her how much you love the place and you hope you're still in the running!

Be professional and brief. Don't mention your cats. She can always increase your pet deposit or similar if that's really an issue. I have two cats, regular vaccuming and getting the apartment professionally cleaned every two weeks means I have zero issues with cat hair. Does this place have carpets or hardwood? If she really has an issue with this, it's not the situation for you. Either she believes you are tidy and responsible already upon meeting you, or her ventilation system has maintenance issues you don't want to be financially responsible for.

No harm checking back. Politely.

Good luck!

PS - you are interviewing her, too. If the place wasn't move in ready, or she's a flake, or she likes to blame her maintenance responsibilities on her tenants as misuse of the property - you don't want her for a landlord. If she's not 100% AWESOME, you can find a better fit. Just FYI.
posted by jbenben at 11:04 PM on February 11, 2016

There's no harm in (politely) checking in with a non-pushy call or email. But I also would not stop looking! She might be slow, or she might have decided to go with the other person who viewed the apartment.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:12 AM on February 12, 2016

Given my recent experiences with calling people about this, it just might be taking her a few days.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:07 PM on February 12, 2016

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