CSP Chapter 2 Lesson 2: Prepare a Strong Application

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Lesson preview: This lesson provides prospective renters with insights into what Landlords want in an effective application and in a responsible tenant. The landlord’s perspective is provided, to help renters understand what the landlord is hoping to avoid and why. Advice on creating an effective application is provided, including that you should include an application letter with your application, and an example of an application letter is provided.


The Landlord’s view when Selecting a Tenant

Understanding the landlord’s perspective will help you make the best case as the most suitable applicant for the property. Developing a good foundation with the landlord at the application stage sets a better chance for a good long-term relationship with the landlord, and they’ll more likely be willing to work with you and accommodate your needs.

Bottom line, of course, is that the landlord wants to make a profit by renting their valuable property to a Responsible Tenant. For a small-scale landlord, this rental is part of their livelihood, and the financial investment often is covered by a loan or a mortgage. The small-scale landlord has much at large amount at stake and therefore the decision to hand over the control of the property to a tenant is a very important decision.


The landlord wants a Responsible Tenant who will –

  • rent the property on the terms agreed
  • take good care of the property
  • pay rent on time
  • act according to the agreed terms and as a good neighbor
  • leave the property in a good condition at the end of the agreement.
  • behave appropriately and not jeopardizes the landlord. That means no criminal activities and no illegal behavior.


The landlord wants to screen out undesirable tenants who are likely to –

  • not pay the rent on time
  • break other agreements in the lease
  • damage the property
  • exhibit abusive or antisocial in behavior (illegal or unacceptable community behavior)

Undesirable tenants cost the landlord money and time because they require more intervention, cause more damage, and possibly result in evictions, which are costly for both parties.

These are important considerations to have in mind when you make your application: You want to set the landlord’s mind at ease about all these details from the start.


Filling out a Rental Application Form

Most landlords and property management companies have their own application forms which they will provide, either online or in person when you visit their office. It is essential that you take the time to fill out the application form neatly, completely, and honestly. Any unreadable parts or incomplete parts will likely delay your application process, which you naturally want to avoid.

Some people are intimidated by forms in general – so many boxes to fill in, dates and names to remember, etc. Realize that filling out this form is an essential step you must take to get the rental property you want, so it’s worth your time and energy. If you need help with the form, seek it! You can turn to family or friends or neighbors to help with this task. Additionally, most cities have a Tenants Association with people whose job it is to help you with all your needs associated with renting.

At the end of this lesson you will see an example of a Rental Application form and links for two online rental application forms from local property management teams in Spokane WA.


Provide an Application Letter with Your Rental Application

One of the surest ways to demonstrate who have the qualities of a Responsible Tenant that will impress the potential landlord is to provide a letter with your application. In a letter, you can explain who you are and demonstrate how you are a responsible person.

Most certainly, you’ll want to demonstrate that you can make all rent payments on time and that your current income shows you can afford the rent. Additionally in the letter, you might consider addressing some or all of these qualities of how you, as a Responsible Tenant –

  • have a good work ethic. Explain your work history, including your current job as well as your future career goals. Mention your past and current education, and any future educational plans you’ve made.
  • are responsible for others. Explain your family situation, and how you care for yourself, for family, and any friends you also take care of.
  • are responsible in the community. Explain your involvement with local schools, churches, civic and neighborhood groups.
  • are responsible for yourself. Mention your future plans and long-term goals. Explain how you take care of yourself with a healthy diet and exercise. Describe your interests or hobbies.
  • are financially responsible. Mention how you budget and look after your finances, how responsible you’ve been paying your bills, what bank accounts you have, and what insurance you carry, If you can demonstrate that you take care of your possessions, your landlord will have reason to believe you’ll look after their property.
  • are honest about past evictions, felonies, or legal judgements against property or people. It is much better to provide any such information from the start. If you don’t, and the landlord discovers such a history through background checks, they will have reason to assume you’ll hide important details in the future and aren’t as trustworthy.


The following letter is an example of letter that accompanied a Rental Application. Notice how the man introduces himself to the landlord, shares some details about his and his wife’s current jobs, and then shares details of his children and their schooling. These brief details gives the landlord useful insights, like “snapshot,” of a responsible family.  Notice that he mentions he’s taken this Responsible Tenants course – which no doubt will give the landlord more confidence in this applicant. Use this model as an example to follow, and do remember that being honest with your potential new landlord from the very first step is a great way to develop a positive long-lasting relationship.

Renters Application Letter example


Rental Application Form, example from a property manager:



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