Looking for a new rental is a lot like applying for a job. During a job interview you size up the supervisor and the position while the supervisor determines if you’ll be a good fit. When applying for a rental, you try to find out if it’s the right unit for your family as the landlord or manager determines whether you’ll be a good tenant. According to Kaycee Wegener
, “Applying for a rental home can be as competitive as landing your dream job. The best properties will attract the most qualified tenants, and as a renter, the application process should be approached like applying for a new job. Just as a polished resume detailing your qualifications can make you stand out in a pool of job applicants, a rental resume detailing your qualifications as an outstanding tenant can make you stand out in the rental market.”
Preparation is key. You wouldn’t go into a job interview without a well-polished resume, then you shouldn’t go into a meeting with a landlord unprepared. Having a tenant resume to give to your potential landlord will make a great first impression and position you to land the rental.
Most career resumes begin with an objective describing what the job seeker is looking for and what he or she brings to the table. Your tenant resume should also start off with an objective. To make your objective great, consider what you’re looking for in a rental and why a landlord should rent to you.
The next section should include a paragraph on your background. Landlords love to know a bit of history about their tenants and presenting all of this information upfront will help the landlord get a good picture of who you are.
The following section should showcase total monthly income and include any subsidies you have to show a snapshot to a landlord how you will pay for your unit and related costs. Please be aware of the federal and state fair housing laws which protects members of certain classes from discrimination in housing.The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination concerning the rental, sale, or financing of housing because of a person’s: Race, Color, National Origin,Sex (Gender): whether you are male, female, or gender non-conforming, Disabled (Mental or Physical), Religion, and Children or Familial Status. Additionally, the state of Connecticut recognizes the following as protected classes: Ancestry, Marital Status:, Age, Sexual Orientation, Lawful Source of Income: whether you have financial assistance in the form of Section 8, via the Rental Assistance Program, Security Deposit Guarantee, and other forms of public assistance, Gender Identity and Gender Expression: whether your gender expression/identity matches your assigned gender at birth.
The bottom line: A potential landlord cannot deny you housing because you are a member of one or more of the protected classes. In Connecticut, some properties are exempt under these laws. To determine if a property is exempt contact the Connecticut Fair Housing Center at (888) 247-4401.For more information on Connecticut Fair Housing Lawsvisit http://www.ctfairhousing.org/
. For a review of the state fair housing laws around the country visit http://www.civilrights.org/fairhousing/laws/
.It is wise to review federal and state fair housing laws prior to looking for units so you can identify housing discrimination and understand the process to reporting it should you encounter it during your search.
Next, you should include a section in your tenant resume on rental history which is a huge factor for landlords when deciding which tenants to approve. If you have been a good tenant in the past, chances are you will be a good tenant again.
Lastly, landlords prefer to lease to renters who can provide good references. While you don’t have to include a written statement from each person, having two or more references listed on your tenant resume will increase your chances of approval. Your supervisor, your previous landlords and even co-workers can serve as references.
Example of a Tenant Resume
123 Hometown Street, Waterbury, CT 06708 – 098.765.4321 – email@example.com
My objective is to locate a 3-bedroom unit in a safe and quiet neighborhood located within commuting distance of my job and near my children’s school.
Graduated from Porter and Chester Institute with a certificate in Phlebotomy.
Currently works at ABC Hospital. When I am not working, I enjoy hiking, cooking, and writing. I am a quiet tenant who has never been evicted and has good rental and character references.
Porter and Chester Institute, Watertown CT
August 2011, Phlebotomy Technician Certification
August 2012-Present, ABC Hospital, Waterbury , CT
2008-2012, Stop and Shop, Danbury, CT
Greenlawn Apartments, John Taylor, Property Manager, 000-000-000
January 2010 to January 2013
Reason for leaving: To upgrade to a larger apartment due to family composition change
Child Support: $535
From CEAP Award for Energy Assistance: $67 per month (800 award % 12)
Rental subsidy from Housing Choice: $500
Total Monthly Amount: $2,202
Rental: John Taylor, Property Manager, Greenlawn Apts. (787) 333-9876
Employer: Rick Doogan, Assistant Lab Director, ABC Hospital (123) 456-7890
Personal: Kathy Williams, Instructor, Porter and Chester Institute (000) 444-4444
Get a Copy of Your Three Bureau Credit Report
Landlords have the right to request a copy of your credit report when determining whether you are a qualified candidate for a rental unit. Your credit report contains basic identifying information, your credit history, accounts in collection, courthouse records, employers, and inquiries of potential credit grantors. All of these factors make up your credit score. Credit scores generally range from 300 to 900 depending on the credit bureau. Credit scores are guidelines that help landlords and creditors assess your ability to pay. Consumers can receive free copies of their credit reports every 12 months from www.annualcreditreport.com
. This is the only authorized source under federal law that provides free credit reports from the three major national credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Obtaining this free annual credit report will not impact your credit score.
You can attach a copy of your credit report to your tenant resume and/ or rental application during your apartment search. This may save you money because a landlord or his agent will charge a fee to pull your credit report which will show as a hard inquiry on your credit report and will impact your credit score. Please note, landlords also have a right to request a background screening to verify employment, criminal background, and eviction records. Having past issues on your report does not necessarily disqualify you for an apartment. A landlord will consider a variety of factors including rental history, character references, and the accuracy of the information obtained on your rental application. Landlords understand that hardships are a part of everyone’s life; the key is to be honest right from the start and build a tenant resume that showcases your strengths.