Are you making a move? It’s not always easy to find your next home, especially in this hot rental market. Today, landlords can be choosy about who they decide to rent their properties to, making the competition between potential renters intense. When it feels like there are more prospective tenants than actual rentals available, it’s easy to get discouraged. So, what’s a renter to do?  

Seven Ways Tenants Can be Ready to Rent

Here are seven suggestions to make yourself stand out from the crowd of tenants vying for that perfect home in Portland’s rental market.

1. Have Your Paperwork Ready

Nothing says responsibility like having all of your information at your fingertips when your new landlord asks!

  • Your contact information.
  • Past residence information: many applications ask for addresses where you’ve lived for the last five years. Have the full addresses, dates of residence, and why you left. 
  • Employment history.
  • Personal references: be ready with their full names, phone numbers and email addresses. Pro tip: it’s always a good idea to alert your references to expect a call! 
  • Copy of your state ID or passport.
  • Three months of bank statements.
  • Most recent pay stub. 
  • Have your checking, savings, or other financial account information ready. A potential landlord may ask for your permission to run a check on your deposits.

Make your potential landlord’s work as easy as possible, and you’ll already be a step ahead of the competition. Having your documents ready is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to reliability and responsibility.

2. Fill Out an Application as Soon as Possible

There’s no need to rush through the application without reading it! In fact, that’s an easy way to get scammed. So, take the time to read the application thoroughly and then fill it out right away. You’re not the only one looking at the property, and you want to make sure your application lands on the top of the pile.

If you are looking for a rental in Portland, you should be aware that in 2019, the Portland City Council adopted a sweeping package of regulations called the “Fair Access in Renting” ordinance to address how landlords screen their prospective tenants. An article from states that this ordinance created a “first-come-first-serve system for rental applications, prioritizes accessible units for people with disabilities, caps the income-to-rent ratio landlords can require of their tenants, and places some limits on the use of credit and criminal histories as criteria for denying a rental application.” 

3. Be Punctual

In a market where multiple potential renters may be showing up at the same time, being late may be the difference between a lease agreement and an ongoing search for a place to call home. Landlords take on-time arrivals as a sign of whether your rental checks will be prompt as well.

4. Dress to Impress

First impressions matter! Landlords pay attention to the details. A clean, neat appearance is an indicator to landlords that you are a person who will also take care of their property.

5. Offer Incentives

Are you ready to make a decision? Bring your checkbook and be ready to put down money for an application fee or deposit. 

Do you have a pet? In a competitive market, offering a higher security deposit as reassurance about the extra cleaning and care required in a home with a furry companion can be reassuring. 

Assure the landlord of your renter’s insurance policy

Offer a longer lease option. Renting properties is a lot of work for property owners, and many owners are happy to have quality long-term tenants because it means less turnover work for them. If you can, consider offering to sign a longer lease that is mutually beneficial to both of you!

However, be wary of setting aside your rights as a tenant. Waiving a right as an incentive for getting the property sets the stage for having them trampled in the future. As a long-term tenant you do not want to send a signal that you’re willing to overlook rental laws designed to protect you and future tenants.

Incentives that clearly establish your conscientiousness and responsibility within the established rental and property laws are worth considering. If you are asked to pay under the table or offer gifts and “carrots,” it is a red flag.

6. Communicate Clearly

The ability to communicate in a clear and concise way is beneficial to both you and your potential landlord. Clear communication demonstrates that you are conscientious and agreeable. Ask questions but be careful that you don’t come across as a potential tenant who already has a list of complaints and demands. Your clear communication when meeting your potential landlord establishes an understanding of the needs and expectations of the rental agreement and can help eliminate potential misunderstandings that could snowball into bigger issues. 

7. Be a Model Tenant

Your new landlord will ask for references to establish that the image you are presenting is an accurate picture of the type of tenant you’ll be. So take the time right now, in your current location, to invest in your reputation.

Most Importantly, Have Fun!

Finding a home can be fun and exciting. Whether the search is a sprint or a marathon, you can make sure that you’re doing all you can to find and obtain the right home for you! Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew is constantly updating our list of available homes. So, check out our website for the latest listings and for our rental criteria. If you think you’re a good fit, send a note through the contact form and we’ll get the application process started. We can’t wait to work with you!