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How To Pass A Background Check

Like A Pro

Are you looking to rent an apartment or renew your lease but fear what might appear on your rental background check? 
At Apartments Near Me we always encourage our tenants to put their best foot forward!  This means exercising complete transparency when it comes to your credit, rental, or criminal history. With our simple tips we can help you pass your background check and create a successful landlord and tenant relationship, from the get-go! 

How to pass rental and apartment background check infographics. Do your own background check on yourself to know what’s on there. Check the state law regarding what can be counted in the background. Be positive even if you have negative points on your background. Be transparent about negative records and try to bring supportive documents.

Why Do Landlords Perform a Background Check?

The reason for running a background check or tenant screening, is to ensure the landlord’s business and property are protected against damage, losses, and legal pursuits owing to tenant activity. It also serves the purpose of ensuring that the information presented in your application is an accurate reflection of your financial and personal history. This helps the landlord choose the best possible tenants with confidence. Typical apartment or rental background and credit check can take few days to a week depends if there is also a job verification process and other manual work while the regular report can be downloaded from dedicated service providers. Each landlord and real estate manager have different ways of verifying information and conduct background check so take into account that it will probably will not take a day. 
If you do have something questionable on your report, it could compromise your chances of receiving approval for an apartment. Fortunately, past financial or rental issues do not mean the end of the road! 
We take a closer look at the steps you can take to pass your background check when applying for an apartment to rent.

What is an Apartments Background Check?

 A rental background check for an apartment or a house is performed by a landlord as part of screening and selecting potential tenants. 
A background check can include: 

  • National criminal record

  • Credit report

  • History of eviction

  • Employment history

  • Government related incidents 

Your landlord can opt to investigate all or one of these checks prior to issuing approval for a lease. Along with providing your consent to the check, future tenants are required to cover the cost of the screening. 

What Shows on a Background Check? 

If you have been evicted, dealt with a criminal charge, faced a government related incident, or have bad credit, these could show up on your report. 
Landlords are permitted to look into any aspect of your background. While they can ask for your consent to do so, they are not legally obligated to. So, with or without your permission, your future landlord or property manager can run a full background check. 
Understanding how to manage the incidents on your reports can go a long way to receiving approval for an apartment lease!

First Step, Perform Your Own Background Check

It is a good idea to perform your own background check. You can identify exactly what is in your report and create a plan of action based on your findings.  You can have a full credit report for free and your police records as well. By checking what others can check on you it will help you to with rental credit checks.

How to Manage the Following Incidents on Your Reports

Bad Credit

You’ve just performed a credit check and discovered a subprime credit rating (a subprime credit rating consists of a score between 580 and 669). While a credit check is the most performed assessment when applying for an apartment, there are things you can do to improve your application. 
If you are currently working on settling your outstanding bills, provide the landlord with proof of your efforts. Whether settling a credit card or a bill with a previous landlord, bank statements reflecting installments to reduce debt assures the landlord you are taking steps to improving your financial stability.


Perhaps you have been evicted from a previous apartment. An eviction will remain on your rental history report for 7 years from the date of the eviction. If 7 years has passed, you’re in the clear, if not, consider adding an explanation as to why you were evicted. 
You can add character testimonials from an employer and friends or colleagues to reassure the landlord of your reliability and trustworthiness. 

Criminal Record

If you have a criminal or felony record, there are still ways you can successfully apply to rent an apartment.

Second Chance Apartments are the Way to Go!

It is always a good idea to apply to properties with landlords and not property managers. Better yet, a second chance apartment is a great way to start and to establish sound rental habits, reliable rental payments, and overall positive tenancy.

Check Your State Law Concerning Criminal Background Checks

Be sure to learn more about state laws concerning background checks. There are certain states that will not reveal a conviction or record that is older than 7 years. This means that you do not have to disclose your criminal history.

Show Positive Character

Your landlord wants to know that they can depend on you to successfully run their business. This means paying rent on time, avoiding tenancy issues, and potential evictions. Provide documents to show you have built a new life. This can include character testimonials, educational pursuits, motivational support for youth, and activities you believe will place your circumstances in a positive light. We all deserve second chances and with.

What to Do if You are Not Approved for an Apartment?

If you are not approved, it is not the end! Simply try again and remember to remain transparent. You can also check our tips on how to get approved for an apartment to help you in your next apartment application.  You can also check out our article: why my rental application was denied.

What if I Feel the Background Check was Unfair?

If you feel you have been discriminated against based on your background check, speak to the landlord to determine why your application was denied.

What to Do with the Things On My Background?

The best chance of increasing your approval for an apartment is to bring in any paperwork that supports your current status. Remember landlords evaluate risks. They want to make sure tenants will take care of the property and will honor the lease agreement. So, any document that shows positive business behavior and practices can help to lower your risk and ultimately improve your application approval. 
A great way to work on improving your rental, credit or personal history is to first to apply for second-chance properties, build a positive impression and show a reliable source of income. You can learn how apply the right way here.
The most important thing to consider is that even if you have a criminal past, be honest about it. If you try to hide information there is a higher likelihood of denial. You can also improve your credit, by start paying off open accounts and close old ones, in addition try to avoid any new negative points. This way your credit report will be better over time. 

Learn more about:

How to be approved for and apartment

How to find the right apartment

Application Evaluation

Poor credit and application approval

First time renter

Have questions? just check out our Housing application FAQ page

Disclaimer: This is being provided as a general service for the public and not specifically relevant to the properties associated with this website. This is only for common knowledge and does not assume any responsibility.

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