This article was posted on Monday, Oct 01, 2018

 A landlord started a discussion on our rental owners’ forum asking landlords to share their favorite statements which rental applicants make that will instantly cause the landlord to consider not renting to them. One landlord admits that the reason they want to actually meet the applicants in person during the showing is because they are able to find out a LOT about people during the viewing. You never find this stuff out by just credit and criminal checks.  Below are a dozen of the favorite applicant disqualifiers shared by landlords. 

 1.      Any attempts to “cheap out” during the showing. Such as, “Can we do this for reduced rent or deposit?” 

2.      Prospects that bad mouth their current landlord or property. “We have black mold” or “It’s filled with roaches and he won’t spray!”

3.      Anything that tells me they have an entitlement mentality. 

4.      When they say “I’ll take it” while on the phone, and this is before they have even seen it.

- Advertisers -

5.      People who verbally abuse or rough up their spouse or family while viewing the property. If you cannot be nice to your family, you aren’t going to get along with neighbors or employers. 

6.      People who use foul language or are rude to me during the viewing.

7.      People whose children flagrantly misbehave and the parents make no attempt to stop or correct them.

8.      I immediately reject anyone who says they will get rid of their pet in order to secure the rental. 

9.      They don’t want one of the adults who will be moving in on the application or lease.

10.  If the applicant tells me, “I need to move right away.”

11.  “Let me tell you my story or explain my situation.” 

12.  If the applicant complains about the property, then wants to rent it.

  Value in Customer Satisfaction Surveys   

Here’s what research shows about customer satisfaction:

  ·         The average business doesn’t hear from 96% of its unhappy customers.

  ·         For every complaint received, 50 customers actually have the same problem.

  ·         The average person with a problem tells eight people. However, 25% will share their bad experience online and through social media potentially telling several hundred people.

  ·         Customers whose complaints are handled well tell an average of five people about the treatment they received.

  ·         On average, about 60% of complaining customers can be retained long-term if their issues are resolved. 95% can be retained if resolved quickly! That’s a big motivator.

 John Goodman, vice chairman of TARP and author of Strategic Customer Service says that,“It’s what you don’t hear that can cause the most damage.” So do a survey of your residents and ask: What, if anything, is the number one complaint you have about the property or management? Then follow up and explain how you’re making changes to respond to resident needs. With limited time and resources, focus your efforts on the most common, glaring needs that you discover from the survey. Think of the 80/20 rule. Spend your time on the 20% of problems that are driving 80% of the complaints. This is your shortest path to improving customer satisfaction.

To get benefits from a resident satisfaction survey, follow the four A’s: Ask-Analyze-Act-Announce

  • Ask for their input
  •  Analyze the results you receive
  •  Act on their “pain points”
  •  Announce what you’re doing to address needs

  Each is tied to the one preceding it. You have to Ask before you can Analyze, Analyze before you can Act, and Act so that you can Announce what you’re doing. You can also include a satisfaction rating scale in your survey. For example, what is your overall satisfaction level with the property? 1-poor, 2-good, or 3-excellent? Once you’ve done your first survey, use it as a marketing tool to get the attention of new prospective residents. Take the analysis of your survey results and create two or three strong “selling points” to use in promoting and advertising your rentals. Examples might be:  

  •  2 out of 3 residents have lived here more than three years!
  • 3 out of 4 residents rated us as a good or excellent rental experience!

Use the Survey for Marketing

 Put these in your ads, newsletters, your website, business cards, etc. Make a big deal of the fact that you are a landlord who listens to his residents and is focused on continuous improvements to provide the best rental experience to your valued residents.  

Use words like “invite”, “invitation-only”, and “opportunity” to join your elite, distinguished group of Most Valued Residents. Highlight the rewards, incentives, and recognition that you give to your Most Valued Residents. They form the basis for your “unique selling proposition”; those things that set you apart from everyone else.

You may be thinking, how do I “sell” this to prospective new residents? Here are four ways:

  1.      Tell prospects on the phone when they call in response to an ad about your rentals. Tell them that your residents have rated you very high in overall satisfaction (if it’s true).

  2.      Whenever you show a rental property to a prospective renter, mention the annual satisfaction survey and tell them that your residents rate you very high in overall satisfaction (if it’s true). 

  3.      You could also mention this when they are filling out a rental application. This will set you apart amidst the stacks of rental applications, property information, and paperwork that each potential resident is buried with during their house-hunting.

Adopt a tagline or slogan to add to your rental paperwork like rental agreements, monthly rent receipts, newsletters, and new resident applications. A tagline like “home of the most satisfied residents in town” or “love where you live” or “become a happy renter” can help distinguish you from other landlords. One landlord who used the survey idea boosted profits by 20% by keeping his good residents longer and tackling his residents’ “pain points” head-on to improve their rental experience. How do I know? Because that landlord is me. 

The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.