How to impress a potential landlord: the rental resume

By on Apr 28th

Photo by Charlotte West remixed by Creative Commons license.

Photo by Charlotte West remixed by Creative Commons license.

Through our 20s, my partner Andreas and I moved an average of once a year, and we didn't look like most landlords' ideal tenants. Despite the dreads, I was already a type-A efficiency monster, and whenever we were hunting for apartments, I found myself irritated by having to fill out the rental applications over and over again with our extensive prior rental history. I hated having to remember all the old addresses and manager's phone numbers.

I decided to kill two birds with one stone: I would save myself the time of filling out rental applications over and over, and I would also make it clear that while maybe we looked weird, we were responsible tenants who had their shit together.

My solution? The rental resume.

I'm certainly not the first to have this idea, but I will say that rental resumes feel extra important for nontraditional tenants. As I've discussed before, if you're a renter who looks unusual (whatever that means for the area), you're working against a stacked deck. No need to feel sorry for yourself or victimized — I am strongly in agreement with Our Lady Of The Manners that it's unbecoming for a weirdo to whine "Why are they staring at me as though I look weird?" Why? Because you're not trying to blend in, and isn't that great? You just need to compensate for people's misguided expectations by being fucking awesome and presenting your potential landlord with a sweet-ass document that shows them how with-it you are. Anticipate what they think you are (irresponsible? loud? poor? flight risk?) and give them a document that shows them you're not.

Our assumption-challenging resume was pretty straight-foward:

Ariel Meadow Stallings & Andreas Tillman Fetz
Phone: (206) 555-1212

Rental References
• 10/2003 – Present
XXX 14th Ave E, Seattle, WA
Gaylene S: (206) 555-1212

• 9/2002 – 10/2003
920 Venice Bl #222, Venice CA
KMK Management: (310) 555-1212

• 8/2001 – 9/2002
XXXX 17th Ave, Seattle WA
Cascadia Apartments: (206) 555-1212

• 7/2000 – 7/2001
XXXX Overhulse Rd, Olympia, WA
Robin H: (360) 555-1212

• 3/2000 – 7/2000
XXXX Overhulse Rd, Olympia, WA
Cooper's Glen Apartments: (360) 555-1212

• 9/1998 – 11/1999
XXXX E Mercer St, Seattle, WA
Cornell & Associates (206) 555-1212

• 10/1997-8/1998
XXX 15th Ave, Seattle, WA
Tudor Properties (206) 555-1212

We were showing that we'd lived together for many, many years and that even though we moved around a lot, we had everyone's information and invited you to call and check references. I don't even know how many landlords DID, honestly. Walking into apartment tours with this information printed out and in a folder tucked under my arm never failed to impress managers. We were weird, but articulate and accessible (polite, deferential, friendly), and had references. We were never once turned down for a rental, even though I was a marketing temp and Andreas was a student/freelance audio engineer.

Bonus tip: like any good resume, a rental resume should be updated before you're on the hunt. I would enter the contact info for the landlord when we moved IN to a new place, so that the document would be all updated and good to go when we were ready to move out.