How to Respectfully Decline a Rental Applicant
We’ve gone through the process of great finding tenants for our rental units a few times now. Whether we have had multiple applicants or interested applicants that weren’t suitable for the units, we have had to make a few tough phone calls letting people know they were not the successful tenant(s). This is not a fun call to make, especially in our city where rentals are in high demand. While you can email or text people letting them know the bad news, it is more professional to call.
How to respectfully and tactfully decline a rental applicant
1. Give yourself an out during your initial conversations
We talked about how to screen interested renters before setting up a showing of your unit. This is a great time to mention that there has been interest in the unit and others have contacted you. That way, if you meet the prospective tenants and you decide not to rent to them then they already know there were other applicants before them.
2. Be brief and to the point
You don’t need to have a long conversation with someone you’ve decided to not rent to. You also don’t have to say why you aren’t to renting to them. Simply stating they were not the successful applicants is sufficient. In fact, we don’t share why we aren’t renting to someone. Partly because we were raised that if-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to say-don’t-say-anything-at-all. Additionally, we air on the side of caution and don’t share why we didn’t rent to someone in case it is misconstrued as a human right’s violation (which is illegal).
3. Be polite
It’s disappointing for potential renters when they are declined; you don’t need to rub salt in the wound by being rude no matter how the showing went. Be courteous. Kindly thank them for their application and wish them luck in their search. Lastly, do get back to applicants; it’s not fair to leave them hanging, especially if they have a deadline to find a rental.
Put it into practice
Here are some ideas when telling someone you will not be renting to them. Feel free to use or adapt the following to suit you:
“Thank for taking time to check out our rental and apply. Unfortunately, you are not the successful applicant for the unit. Good luck in your search.”
“Thank you for your application; unfortunately, we decided to go with another applicant. Best of luck finding a place.”
“We enjoyed meeting you and it was a tough decision with so much interest in our unit. Unfortunately, we will be renting to an earlier applicant – we hope you find something even better.”
You get the idea… So far, we haven’t had any nasty encounters when contacting people. Reminding them there was previous interest, keeping it brief and being gracious makes for a quick phone call that ends pleasantly.
Do you have any other suggestions to make declining a prospective tenant go smoothly? Let us know in the comments!
Denise and Sean
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