What You Need to Complete Your Apartment Application

Renter signing an apartment application.

The right apartment in an ideal location can be snapped up before you know it. That is the main reason to get all of your important documents in order when preparing to complete an apartment application. In the time it takes you to go back home and hunt down missing bank statements or find a co-signer, the apartment of your dreams can be rented to another. Do not let a golden opportunity escape. Get the following documents ready for when you are ready to fill out your apartment application.  

Begin with the Apartment Application Basics

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Show proper identification.

You will need to show some form of identification for the application. Start by making two copies of your driver’s license or passport. These will be necessary for background and credit checks. A driver’s license is usually standard and those that show another form of identification may have to also provide other documents. You may be asked for your social security card but it is best to avoid providing it if possible to avoid potential identify theft.

Graphic showing rental application proof of income

Be able to prove a steady stream of income.

You will have to prove your ability to pay the rent and any associated fees. Therefore, it is necessary to show a steady stream of income from your employer. Be able to provide copies of pay stubs and 2-3 months of bank statements to demonstrate your income. The rental price should represent 30 percent of less of your income. Typically the two last pay stubs are sufficient. In some cases, a recent tax return is useful. Usually, you will need to show pay stubs or a bank statement. Salaried and hourly workers are generally fine with pay stubs. Those that are self-employed or business owners may need to use bank statements and their last tax return.

Graphic showing work history timeline

Show your work history.

A record of your work history will help to show the potential landlord your reliability. Remember that your landlord wants to rent out the apartment to someone that will be able to stay for at least the minimum time specified on the lease or contract. Some property owners will also ask for contact information from current and previous employers. This means that those with ongoing employment and a solid work history stand a better chance than others that are just starting new employment when there is competition for an available apartment.

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Do you need a co-signer?

A co-signer may be necessary for those with a poor credit history.

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Do you have a rental history and references?

Have you rented before? Your rental history will be required as part of the application process. Create a list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of your last three rentals/landlords or all apartments rented in the last five years. It is common for previous landlords to be contacted to determine whether or not you were a problem tenant or were responsible for any significant damage to the property.

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Gather Other Documents and More

In some cases, potential landlords may ask for names and phone numbers of individuals that will stand as personal references. Find a close friend or co-worker to help with this request. You cannot use relatives as personal references.

Your vehicle registration and potentially proof of insurance will be necessary if you will be provided a parking space or use their parking area.

Lastly, bring your checkbook when completing your apartment application. It may be necessary to pay an application fee or an amount to prevent someone else from taking the unit while you wait to sign a lease. Getting all your documents in order simplifies the process of filling out apartment applications and speeds up the time it may take to get into your new apartment.