It’s no secret that landlords prefer tenants with a regular income and decent credit score, but what else do property owners consider top qualifications for good renters?

  • Renters who write a customized note to a landlord are 20 percent more likely to hear back, and the more information provided up front the more likely the response rate.
  • Wealthy renters who are ready to make a move, reliable and willing to provide information up front are 200 percent more likely to secure their ideal place.
  • Five California cities made the top 10 list of the most competitive rental markets in the nation, with San Francisco and Oakland ranking in the no. 1 and no. 2 spots.

It’s no secret that landlords prefer tenants with a regular income and decent credit score, but what else do property owners consider top qualifications for good renters?

Trulia used its Rental Resume feature to determine connections between landlords and tenants, searching for what helps tenants stand apart from the rest of the pack in competitive rental markets.

With the growing population of renters throughout the nation (a 5 percentage-point uptick from 38.5 percent to 43.3 percent in the last decade), the importance of having a strong application is only growing.

Trulia analyzed the data pulled from its Rental Resume to find tenants who are more upfront and direct may have a better shot at securing their ideal pad.

Renters who wrote a personal message to their potential landlord were 20 percent more likely to get a response back, the report shows. Simply sharing a Trulia profile and resume bumps up the probability of a landlord response by 10 percent.

Filling out at least five of the nine fields were 10 percent more likely to get a response than those who filled out fewer than five fields.

Landlords were also more responsive to tenants who were under a time crunch, Trulia says. Those who specified a move-in date a week away were more likely to get a response than those with a move-in time frame of 30 days.

Tenants considered “rich and reliable,” which is an individual who sent a personal message and makes more than $100,000 with a credit score of 720 to 850, were found to have a 70 percent higher chance of getting a response from a landlord compared to individuals considered in the “middle of the road,” and 130 percent more likely than “risky and reserved.”

“Middle of the road” applicants are considered to be those who did not send a message and make an income between $50,000 and $100,000 with a credit score between 600 and 650. “Risky and reserved” also didn’t send a message and make an income between $0 and $25,000 with a credit score between 0 and 600.

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In metros where rent is more competitive, tenants have to follow suit. Trulia measured the nation’s 25 largest metro areas and competitiveness scores based on how qualified renters are in those areas, showing lower vacancy rates and better-qualified prospective tenants led to higher competitiveness scores.

San Francisco is home to the most competitive tenants, Trulia says, with a score of 97.1 out of 100. Renters here are faced with a 1 percent vacancy rate, and 39.2 percent of renters have an income over $100,000.

More than 10 points below the City by the Bay is neighboring Oakland, with a score of 85.7. Five of the top 10 most competitive rental markets were located in California, with San Diego ranking no. 4 and Anaheim no. 7.

Los Angeles ranked no. 9, with a score of 64. Just about 16 percent of L.A. renters have an income above $100,000, the report shows, and 22.4 percent of renters have a credit score between 720 and 850.

Washington D.C. also made the top 10, at no. 6, with a score of 80. Tenants here are 21.2 percent likely to have an income above $100,000 and more and 23.8 percent likely to have a credit score of 720 to 850.

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New York City ranked no. 13 with a competitiveness score of 47.4. Residents here are 14.9 percent likely to be bringing in an income above $100,000 and 21.9 percent likely to have a credit score of 720 to 850, the report shows.

Chicago ranked no. 15 with a competitiveness score of 42.9. Windy City renters are 17.2 percent likely to have a high credit score of 720 to 850, and 11.8 percent have an income above the $100,000 threshold.

Houston ranked in the no. 17 spot, with a competitiveness score of 33.1. Houston renters are 7.6 percent likely to make more than $100,000 and 7.9 percent likely to have a credit score between 720 and 850.

While Miami residents are 15.6 percent likely to have a high credit score, only 8.1 percent are likely to make more than $100,000, despite the area’s glitzy reputation. Renters here have a competitiveness score of 29.1.

Email Kimberly Manning

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