Students Trying To Rent With Roommates

Students Trying To Rent With Roommates
From Time to time I represent home owners who are looking to rent out their property and almost every single time I run into Graduate level students frustrated that they find it so difficult to find a place to rent with roommates.
After an initial request to view a property, here’s the conversation I had with a student recently:
I am interested in (address excluded for privacy).  My roommates and I are all Chapman Graduate students looking for a place to relax in after finishing our busy days on campus. We’re looking to move around June 10th-17th. Is there a way we can view the property? Thank you so much for your help! Best, (Student Renter) You can reach me at: (555) 555-5555.
I am happy to show you the condo at (address excluded for privacy). Please call me to arrange a showing.
I know the owner would rather have the property rented sooner than June and I can tell you honestly she is a little hesitant with the whole roommate situation.  Of course if she finds a family that meets the required criteria, it will be her preference BUT… if that family doesn’t materialize she will be forced to consider the viable options.
I believe I’m showing another couple the home at 5pm today so if you’d like to see it at that time as well, let me know.  Call me first to confirm that I will be there or that you want to arrange a different time.
Mr. Nitz,

Thank you so much for your quick response. Based off your description of the renter and the preferred move in date, I don’t think we’ll be stopping by for a viewing. I never really understand why someone would view 3 graduate students who are actively engaged in a highly selective, rigorous program as below a couple walking around with a little mess machine. Saddens me. Well, you know our preferred move in date. We’re looking in Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Costa Mesa. If you have any 3 bedroom houses/townhouses that you think would be a good match please contact me! Thanks again for the information, I hope the rest of your day goes well and I hope your renter finds what she’s looking for.


Student Renter
I totally understand what you mean.  I think most of the property owners these days grew up watching movies like National Lampoon’s Animal House and think that every group of college kids are crazy partiers.
I personally have met quite a few students who were studying high level material and partying was the furthest from their minds.
However there’s another legitimate reason some owners feel reluctant to rent in roommate situations.  It’s an issue of liability.  If say 3 people apply as individuals and are accepted and suddenly one person has a life event requiring their sudden vacancy, it leaves the owner hanging with a gap in the rent.  Often times the remaining tenants do not want to accept responsibility for the missing 1/3 of the rent leaving the owner in a financial rut. Yes the owner can pursue the obligated party but the expense and hassle is not worth it.  Then the application process starts all over again for 1/3 of the rent.  That’s why most would prefer a single responsible person or family regardless of the mess-machines in tow.three college students renting
Anyway, here’s my recommendation.
  1. Have completed applications ready for each room mate.  Make them crystal clear and perfectly legible. (presentation is everything),
  2. Have all the supporting documentation including the application ready to submit on any property at a moments notice.  (digital format makes it easier to do).
  3. Write (for each room mate) what I call a Love Letter.  In hopefully just one page, tell your story. Field of study, length of time remaining, source of funds for rent, if there’s anyone else guaranteeing rent (parents etc) and anything else you feel would contribute to making a property owner confident in accepting your application.
Go here:  to download a blank application and see the list of documentation typically required when applying for a lease.  DO NOT order credit reports or background checks from this site yet.
Have all this ready to submit on multiple properties at a time.  Simply put… you have those owners who don’t get it so you’re going to be stuck playing a numbers game.
If you go to:  you’ll be able to see every property that is listed through the Multiple Listing Service.  These are generally, private owners that might fit into the same category so you never know. But… like I said, it’s just a numbers game.
I hope this is helpful.
I have not heard back from the student as of yet but I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are.  Can you offer any additional advice for the students on the subject?  Comment below and share if you know other students who are in the same boat.


Write a comment