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You found an apartment that checks off all the necessary points on your rental documents and checklist. In other words, you fell in love with the place! Now it’s time to tackle the apartment application process, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below is everything you need to know about apartment rental applications.
The key to a successful apartment application is to provide enough information to prove your potential landlord that you are trustworthy and able to pay rent on time. So here is what you need to rent an apartment:
The landlord will need to communicate with you, so make sure you are responsive and provide the easiest way to reach you, be it your phone number, email, or another method.
Usually, you will need to provide your social security number. The landlord may also ask for a copy of your social security card. This information is necessary for a background check.
If you are looking to apply for a parking spot, you will need to provide details about your car. Have the make and model, year, and license plate number information all on hand. The property manager may also ask for the car’s insurance information.
This information is proof of your identity and may also be needed for that parking spot you’re after.
This information is also needed for your background check. Also, the landlord may want to check in with your previous landlords for referrals.
Again, this information is necessary for your criminal background check. Note your occupation, company name, and phone number in the paperwork so that your landlord may verify your employment.
Pay stubs, tax returns, or some other proof of income is going to be required for your application.
A potential landlord will likely want to speak with your previous landlords to verify your rental history and demeanor as a tenant. They may also ask for personal references, such as your boss, to confirm your employment and character.
Make sure to check out our article on who to select as a rental reference for your apartment application for tips. It explores different options as well as their pros and cons. If you already know who is going to be your reference, you can go ahead and send them one of our rental reference letter templates.
In case the landlord is unable to reach you or a medical emergency takes place, they may need to contact someone close to you, so choose wisely.
Think of your apartment application as a job interview process. To better represent yourself and answer any questions that may arise, you can put together a cover letter. Other people get to talk to you in your references, but this is where you can be your advocate.
If you have a cosigner, make sure that they fill out their part of the application, too.
Landlords may want to see some additional paperwork. Check with the leasing office early to know what else you need to complete your apartment application. For example, if you have a pet, you might want to provide a pet resume to predispose your potential landlord to your best bud.
The idea is that you have a better chance of getting an apartment you want if the landlord sees you as someone responsible and reliable, and a good way to do that is to show how easy you'd be to work with. So here's what you should have handy when you are looking for a new place to rent:
Even when there isn't a minimum requirement, pay stubs are the easiest way for landlords to verify your employment and ability to pay your rent. In some cases, an offer letter from your employer is enough to rent an apartment. Other landlords may want to contact your employer directly to verify your employment status.
Larger rental agencies or complexes will probably do a credit check, so you'll need to have your social security number (or SIN if you're in Canada) with you. Make sure when you give it out that the person you're giving it to works for a legitimate company. Don't give it to individuals or landlords who demand it.
The steps to get a rental application check passed are:
Understanding the rental application process is difficult and different for all. But typically, most applications will take between 48 – 72 hours for a decision. In some instances, however, it may take longer. Hot tip: If you haven't heard back from the agent after 48 hours, it's a good idea to follow up by phone or email.
There's a reasonable and customary charge for rental application fees. They usually cost $30-50, but some landlords may charge you up to $100. You can expect to pay the larger fees in a hot real estate market.