How to Talk to Property Managers

Communication is important when it comes to building relationships, especially a potential property manager. Be confident when speaking with a property manager. If you are nervous about speaking about a rental barrier you can practice what you say with someone else.

Here are some sample scripts you can use while you speak with property managers. The scripts can be adjusted to fit your needs. Replace the text in blue with your information.

When you talk to a new or current property manager remember to:

        1. Be honest about your income, rental history, and family structure.

        2. Keep the relationship professional.

        3. Keep your word. Do not agree to things you cannot deliver on.

        4. Ask questions that will make you and your family feel comfortable living there.

First impressions are important for any relationship in your life, especially with a potential property manager. Your goal is to make a lasting, positive first impression, so you stand out among other applicants. Make sure the property manager knows you are taking this opportunity to house your family seriously and you will be a responsible future tenant.

  • Dress professionally.
  • Be on time for appointments.
  • Respond quickly to emails and phone calls.
  • Have your rental documents ready and organized.
  • Think about who you bring to your appointments.
  • If you think your kids will be a distraction, make child care arrangements ahead of time.

Hello,

My name is [your name], I am inquiring about your rental property located at [rental unit address or identifying information or let them know where you saw the listing]. I am interested in your rental because [explain what you like about the features or location]. I have a few questions:

  • Is the rental still available?
  • What utilities are included?
  • [list any questions you have]

I can provide verification of ability to cover the rent and can provide positive rental references. I would love to set up a time and date to view your rental. I can be reached at [phone number] or by email at [email address]. I am generally available [time and days that you are free], but if those times do not work for you, I will try to accommodate your schedule. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
[your name]

Hi,

My name is [your name] and I am calling about the [unit size, i.e. 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom] apartment that I found on [Craigslist, vacancy sign, etc.].

  • Is the rental still available?
  • What utilities are included?
  • What is the screening criteria?

I can provide positive rental references and verification of ability to pay rent. [Ideas for questions you can ask: How soon is the apartment available? What is your policy on ___________? Are you offering a lease signing deal? What amenities does the apartment offer?]

Ending 1 (if you are NOT interested in the rental unit): Thanks! I will call you if I have any additional questions.

Ending 2 (if you are interested in the apartment): Thanks! I would love to schedule an appointment to view this rental unit. I am available [time and date]. Does that work for you?

I would love to set up a time and date to view your rental. I can be reached at [phone number] or by email at [email address]. I am generally available [time and days that you are free], but if those times do not work for you, I will try to accommodate your schedule. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
[your name]

Hi, my name is [your name] and I am calling about the [unit size, i.e. 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom] apartment that I found on [place you saw the listing, like Craigslist, Zillow, etc.]. I can provide positive references and verification of ability to cover the rent.

I would love to speak with you about this rental unit. Please call me at [phone number]. The best time to reach me is [list times and days, i.e. on weekdays after 5 pm or anytime on the weekends]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Explaining Housing Choice Voucher benefits

Talking to property managers about the Housing Choice Voucher program benefits can be hard or confusing. Here are some common questions or thoughts property managers may have about a housing voucher.

The CMTO team suggests you establish a relationship with the property manager before discussing your voucher. Talk to the property manager about the goals you have for yourself and your family and what it would mean for you to move to their property. Make sure you convey to the property manager you are responsible and take this opportunity seriously. Once you have established a relationship with the property manager then you can talk about the voucher. Follow the in-person script if you are not sure how to talk about the voucher.

If you cannot meet the property manager in-person (e.g. if you live outside of Washington state) you can still establish a relationship with the property manager before discussing your voucher. The CMTO team suggests calling the property manager on the phone but if that is not possible follow the email script.

If a rental property requires you make a certain amount of income times the rent (ex: your income must be at least 3 times the rent) then you will calculate this using your portion of the rent you pay the property. Your income requirements are NOT calculated from the total rent price.

Example:

A property is saying you need to make 3 times the rent in order to qualify. The rent is $1,800 and your portion of the rent is between $100 and $200. In order to qualify for this property your income needs to be between $300 and $600 a month ($100x3 = $300, $200x3 = $600) NOT the full rent price of $1,800.

Make sure to emphasize the benefits property managers can receive by working with the Housing Choice Voucher program such as:

Reliable Rent Payments:

Monthly rent payments from the Housing Authority through direct deposit or by check (a service fee applies if the property manager chooses to receive a check every month).

Free Inspections:

The rental unit will get regular inspections conducted by the housing authority, which keeps the property in adherence with housing quality standards set by HUD.

Hello [property manager's name],

Thank you for considering my family and I for your rental property. We are very interested in your property because [explain what you like about the property or location]. I would like to inform you that I will be using my Housing Choice Voucher from [KCHA/SHA] at my next residence. With the Housing Choice Voucher, I will be paying between 28 to 40 percent of my income on rent every month and [KCHA/SHA] will pay the remainder directly to the rental property.

There are many benefits to property managers who work with the Housing Choice Voucher program. You will have guaranteed on-time payments of [SHA/KCHA]’s portion of the rent every month. I will be paying rent that is affordable to me even if my income changes. [KCHA/SHA] will conduct free inspections of the rental property. You can fix problems identified by [SHA/KCHA] which will increase the value of the property and make it easier to rent the unit in the future.

I am happy to provide verification of my ability to cover the rent and positive rental references. Thank you for helping me create a better future for my family. I look forward to working with you.

Thank you,

[Your name]

[After establishing relationship with landlord]:

I will be using my Housing Choice Voucher I received from [KCHA/SHA] to pay for rent at my next home. With the Housing Choice Voucher I will be paying between 28 to 40 percent of my income on rent every month and [KCHA/SHA] will pay the remainder directly to the rental property.

As a landlord there are many benefits to working with the Housing Choice Voucher program. You will have guaranteed on-time payments of [SHA/KCHA]’s portion of the rent every month. I will be paying rent that is affordable to me even if my income changes. [KCHA/SHA] will conduct free inspections of the rental property which is good for you because you can fix problems in your property. By doing this you will increase the value of your property and make it easier to rent the unit in the future.

I am happy to provide verification of my ability to cover the rent and positive rental references. Thank you for the opportunity to create a better future for my family.