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Top Tenant Strategies to Secure a Lease in a Competitive Rental Market


Finding housing in a competitive rental market is no easy task, as most renters know. After all, with more demand and fewer homes available, all the good rental properties go off the market within seconds. But, what makes a competitive rental market after all? And how can tenants secure a lease when competition is high? Keep reading as we go over some top tenant strategies to secure a lease in a competitive rental market. 

What Makes a Competitive Rental Market?

While navigating a competitive rental market, it’s important to know what factors affect the market. After all, the housing market is one of the top factors affecting rental property pricing. When it’s a seller’s market, it means that there is more demand than there is supply. On the other hand, a buyer’s market is when there is more than enough supply to meet the demand.

A competitive rental market primarily benefits landlords since renters are competing against each other to score a rental unit. That said, tenants who are competing for a rental home must work towards beating the competition. Here are some ways tenants can secure a rental property in a competitive market. 

 How to Secure a Rental in a Competitive Market

Since you’re likely competing against several potential renters, finding deals and contacting landlords right away is important. Renters need to utilize resources and learn how to stand out on a rental application to do this. Use these tips to help find a rental property in areas with high competition. 


  1. Use Technology to Find Property Deals
  2. Have References Ready
  3. Be Honest About Rental History
  4. Have Money Ready to Go
  5. Take Care of Your Credit
  6. Ask Questions About the Property
  7. Prepare for Tenant Screening

Use Technology to Find Property Deals

Finding housing in paper ads or yard signs is not as practical as it used to be. Instead, most rentals are listed online on various sites such as Apartments.com, Zillow, HotPads, and more. Searching the internet to find nearby housing is an excellent way to find deals quickly before another prospective tenant secures them. Additionally, when you use online tools, you can narrow down your search to specific locations and browse on the go!

Have References Ready

If you know that you’re looking for a new rental home, gather references before applying. After all, you know that you’re going to need them. That said, make sure your references are trustworthy and professional people who will give you a good word. Additionally, make sure to add a full name, up-to-date phone number, and email address for your references. If you don’t have references or someone gives you a negative review, landlords may overlook your rental application. 

Be Honest About Rental History

Your rental history is highly crucial for landlords to know. If you have been in a tight financial situation in the past and have struggled to make payments, it’s best to be truthful and explain your case to a potential landlord. Most landlords have compassion and will work with tenants to make things easier for all parties. However, if you’ve caused extensive damages in a rental or broke a lease in another way, it’s essential to disclose this information. Keep in mind that if you have a record of poor rental history, landlords may be wary of signing a lease with you. 

Have Money Ready to Go

If you are confident that you’re signing a lease on a property, you need to be just as prepared financially as you are prepared mentally. After all, in a competitive market, you need to secure a deal before another prospective renter does first. Also, keep in mind that most landlords require a security deposit along with the first month’s rent, so save up enough to cover these costs. Then, when you view the property, have the cash ready so that you can act fast! Having the money ready to go will also tell landlords that you have the funds necessary to live in the property, which also heightens your chance of securing a lease.

Take Care of Your Credit

Before renting to you, a landlord will look at your creditworthiness. It could be a red flag if you have a history of late payments and significant amounts of current debt. That said, keep an eye on your credit score and do what you can to take care of any hiccups. If you do have any significant bumps in your credit history, make sure you have a reasonable explanation. 


Ask Questions About the Property

Landlords want to see that you have a genuine interest in the property. After all, most landlords don’t want to rent to just anyone. If you ask detailed questions about the property, it can show landlords that you are eager to live there. Make sure to get information on utilities, rent prices, parking, and more to learn as much as you can before moving in. 

Prepare for Tenant Screening

Before you get a lease, landlords or Philadelphia property managers will typically ask you several questions about you, your rental history, and why you’re looking for a new place to live. Make sure to have honest and reasonable answers to any questions a landlord may have. For instance, if they ask about pets, let them know how many and what kind of pets you have. Additionally, talk with landlords about your rental history and rental expectations. 

What Do Landlords Look For in a Good Tenant?

To stand out as a good tenant, you’ll want to know a few specific qualities landlords look for. Here are some factors to consider before looking for housing in a competitive rental market. 

  • Satisfactory Credit History- Landlords typically look for tenants with good history and low current debt. Make sure your credit history reflects your reliability as a tenant. If your credit history is poor, it could be difficult to win a rental property over another candidate with great rental history. 
  • Clear Background Check- Since most landlords will run a background check before signing a lease with you, it’s crucial to have a clean record. A history of drugs, violence or other criminal activity can make it hard to get into a rental.
  • Professional Attitude- When dealing with landlords and property management professionals, it’s important to be respectful and accommodating. Since you’re living on a landlord’s property, follow the rules on the lease and treat the property with respect. 
  • Adequate Income- If you can’t afford to live in a property, a landlord won’t want to rent to you. Most landlords look for tenants that make up to 3 times the monthly rent amount. 
  • Good Rental History and References- Your rental history can make a massive difference between you and another competing tenant. Finding housing in a competitive rental market can be challenging if your rental history is poor and you don’t have excellent references. 


Having Trouble Finding Quality Tenants For Your Rentals?

Whether or not it’s a competitive rental market, it can be difficult for busy landlords to find the perfect tenants. As such, many landlords seek help from property management. A full-service property management team, like Bay Property Management Group, can help you find great tenants and help maximize your rental business. 

We’ve got you covered whether you need help with tenant screening, rent collection, maintenance, and more. We serve several areas, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC. Contact us today if you could use the help of comprehensive rental management services!