Elements of a Rental Application

Elements of a Rental Application

The rental application process can be just as intimidating as the search itself. Depending on if the house is managed by an owner, or by a property management company, they typically ask for the same information. You’ll be surprised at the array of personal information required from you. If you’re not prepared for it, the application process can become a serious time-suck and you may risk losing the apartment to another, faster applicant.

In order to help you move as quickly as possible once you’ve found the perfect house, I’ve put together a list of typical requirements to better prepare you for what’s to come.

Some management companies and owners may only request some items on the list, while others will ask for everything but your firstborn child.  If you can compile as much of this information in advance, you’ll be in a great position to fly through this process.

Some landlords may require information from just 1 tenant, who will typically be the main tenant on the lease. On the flip side they may require an application(this includes application fees) from each person applying to live in the property. Each applicant (and any guarantor) will need to provide copies of the following documents:

  • Credit Check – Typically, credit checks will be performed by the management company, but each time your credit is checked you run the risk of experiencing a dip in your credit score. So if you plan on filling out applications on a number of possible apartments, it might be a good idea to print out your own credit report and attach it to each application. Note that most require a hard run credit report and each Landlord may have a preference on the source of the credit report.
  • Bank Account and Credit Card Numbers – If you’re relying on the management company or landlord to run a credit check, you will need to have these handy. Obtaining these numbers is a pretty straightforward process, and easily accessible by hitting up your online banking account, calling your bank directly, and for the CC numbers, opening up your wallet.
  • Social Security Number – Make sure you have the SSNs for yourself as well as your roommates and guarantors (if applicable).
  • Application Form – The application form will be furnished by the management company of each building, and I’ve detailed the key information in the above bullet points. Make sure you fill in all of your information neatly as this form will likely serve as the cornerstone of your overall application.
  • Application Fee – This varies by management company and/or building, and price points often fluctuate as a result. Fees on average come around to $35, but depending on the property management firm this may be waived. Unfortunately, these fees are non-refundable even if you’re rejected.
  • Valid ID – This is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure your photocopies are clear, and if you’re using a driver’s license, be sure to photocopy both the front and back.
  • Bank Statements – Supplement your application with bank statements (I’d recommend using statements from the last three months). Just like your bank account numbers, this information can be easily downloaded from your online banking account.
  • Pay Stubs – You’ll be asked for pay stubs (again, I’d recommend including three to be on the safe side) to prove that you can afford to pay the rent on your income. Most management companies will require that your salary covers between 2-4x the monthly rent; guarantors (someone to cosign the lease with you if you don’t meet income requirements and assume responsibility for your payments if you cannot make them) usually need to show yearly income between 4-7x the monthly rent.
  • Tax Return or W-2 – You may need to provide the past two years of tax returns or W2s. If you’re super organized, you probably already have this saved and stored away for easy access. Otherwise, just give your accountant a call and he/she can send along these documents.

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