Contact Landlords

Once you and your group have found a place that you all at least somewhat agree on, your next step is to contact the landlord to either schedule a showing or get an application. This part is important! Landlords receive hundreds of inquiries when they put their properties on Craigslist, and they need a way to sort through them all. Identifying professional applicants from the get-go is a simple, yet effective sorting process for them.

The Landlord's Perspective:

Owning and renting a property to college students can be lucrative, but it's also risky. Landlords are trying to minimize this risk by renting to a quality group of students. There are a lot of ways you can put your best foot forward with the landlord (like using PolyRents and kicking-ass at the showing), but you won't even get to that point if you don't pass the landlord's first test: the initial contact.

Read First, Email Second:

  • Some listings will announce a showing time (you should still email them introducing yourselves).
  • Some will ask for specific information.
  • Some will ask you to email for an application.

Before you think about contacting the landlord, read the dang listing...all of it. For example, one post had this notice at the bottom.

No showings before...

A Few More Key Points:

  • If the listing specifically says no pets and you have a cute little puppy, don't bother asking for an exception.
  • If they say "5 tenants", don't ask if they'll let you have 7. There’s a city-mandated maximum occupancy on most properties in SLO so the landlord will not budge.
  • If they ask you to include your name, email, and phone number in the first contact, and you want a response, you need to include it.
  • After you've read the listing and are thinking the property would be a good fit, click the reply button, copy the email address, and send a message.
Email via Craigslist

When you reach out to landlords, make sure to be professional. You're not buying an Xbox or a used mattress (...gross), you're trying to convince them to rent their home to you. Make sure to be on your best behavior.

One more time: read the listing and send them the information they ask for.

Example Reply from Landlord

If they don't have their name in the listing, keep it gender neutral and professional. We suggest either simply using “Hello” or the more formal "Sir / Ma'am" (if that’s your thing).

Hearing Back

Example Reply from Landlord

Usually, the landlord will get back to you with instructions. Make sure you get all the information that they need and return it to them in a timely manner. Some, like our example landlord, will ask you to fill out an application. Some will coordinate a time to meet with you. Some will be fake listings trying to scam you. Whatever the case, we have other posts that cover those points in greater detail.

  • Did the landlord invite you to a showing?
  • Did the landlord ask you to fill out an application?
  • Did the landlord ask you for a bunch of money via Western Union (or sound scammy?)

Make sure to respond accordingly.

PolyRents Tips: What You Should Know

Read The Listing: The number one complaint we hear from landlords is that students don't bother reading the entire listing, and therefore waste their time.

Be Professional: This is by far the most important part. Treat your interactions with the landlords like you would a job interview.

Keep Contacting: Even if you hear back from one landlord, keep reaching out to properties that would fit your group.