Updated: Mar 8
Increase Your Chances of Application Approval.
Applying for an apartment can be exciting and stressful at the same time. What most applicants don't know is that landlords have strict processes and procedures they follow to determine eligibility and lease approval. Fortunately, you have to come to the right place to improve your chances of getting approved for your rental.
Please note that different landlords and rental companies will have their own unique set of approval criteria.
How to Apply for an Apartment?
Applying for an apartment is not as simple as completing a form and then you receive approval. You should educate yourself on how you will be evaluated and be sure to make the right impression. Remember, landlords, are looking for reliable tenants. The most qualified applicant will be the one who can complete the entire lease and pay the monthly rent on time.
To determine whether you will meet these requirements, landlords will validate the information and documents you provide on your application. Your credit history will be checked to examine your finances and repayment history. Landlords will also perform a background check to verify the information on your application.
Answering questions honestly on the application and having your documents up-to-date and in order can improve your chances of approval.
Inquiring about the necessary information or documents needed prior to filling out your rental application can help ensure you are prepared, which can also increase your application approval. While filling out the application accurately and having all the documents does not guarantee your approval, it can help leave a positive and strong impression on a potential landlord.
Knowing Your Renter Status
Apartment approval also depends on your renter status. Are you looking for affordable housing? Do you have negative credit history or maybe no credit at all? Are you looking for a second-chance apartment? Do you need an income-based or income-restricted apartment? Research and understanding the type of renter you are will help you make the best decision based on your individual situation. Questioning yourself before completing an application is like doing a personal intake survey, this way you are already aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
It is important to make sure you apply for apartments that suit your lifestyle, financial history, and your family or personal needs.
Affordable Housing Renter - Affordable housing covers a variety of different types of rental apartments, townhomes, homes, and other types of dwellings. Affordable housing is great for low-income renters who may need financial assistance, public housing, Section 8 or participate in other government-funded programs.
Second-Chance Housing Renter - Second-chance friendly properties are for renters who may have bad credit history, rental collections, history of evictions, some criminal background, filed bankruptcy, and/or other difficulties that would otherwise prevent an applicant from being approved for an apartment with traditional requirements. Second-chance apartments are also good for first-time renters who may have no credit or rental history.
Traditional Housing Renter - Traditional apartments have standard leasing requirements for income and background. Typically traditional apartments have requirements on the amount of income you need to make as well as guidelines surrounding approval as far as rental evictions, collections, and bankruptcies. If you have good rental history and steady income then traditional renting would be the choice for you.
More often than not when applying for a rental, your landlord will perform a credit and background check. In addition, when applying for an apartment you will be asked to provide proof of income which helps determine your financial eligibility, Generally, the rental application process is pretty straightforward
What Is Included In Rental Application?
Traditional documents requested by landlords include, but are not limited to:
Proof of employment
Proof of salary
Former landlord contact details
Along with the above requirements, a standard form issued by the rental company or landlord must be completed by the applicant.
Incomplete applications can be grounds for automatic denial.
To apply for an apartment, you can check out our resource on How to Be Approved for an Apartment. This will give a more in-depth look at specific renter requirements, credit checks, and second chance apartments.
Remember, that by signing the rental application you are telling the landlord that all provided information is true and correct.
Answer Completely & Accurately - A landlord who doesn’t have to make additional contact to get answers to incomplete applications will be more likely to approve your application. If you are unsure of a question or how to answer it, discuss it with the office staff to be sure you answer it correctly.
Follow Procedure - Don’t try to bypass the procedure by offering higher than requested deposits or placing restrictions on certain types of personal information. Stick to the process requested by the landlord. Leave the haggling at the door.
Update Your Public Social Media Accounts - Today’s landlords and property managers are using social media to learn about their tenants. Social media is widely accessible, and landlords can view your public profile if they choose to. You can leave a positive impression by keeping your social media clean, balanced, and truthful. Remember, if you conceal information on the rental application, your social media might just reveal a different story.
Landlords recieve many applications for adverstied apartments. For example, an aoartment you are interested in could receive 20+ applications. Landlords are ultimately looking for a accurate and complete application provided by the applicaint that convonces them you are the right tenant for the lease.
An important part that most people dont consider is the initial meeting with the landlord, property manager or office staff. First impressions are lasting impressions and you want to give the best impression. Although you are not being interviewed for a job, you still want to also look the part. All in all you want to present yourself as the "total package". For more tips and tricks check out our "Landlord Etiquette Tips" !
What a Landlord Cannot Ask in an Apartment Application?
While there is plenty that landlords can ask on a rental application, there is a line meant to protect the rights of the applicant.
Landlords and property managers should never ask about race, religion, sex, or age other than birthday for processing purposes. Questions surrounding these topics could be a violation of your rights to a fair and just interview. If you do have children, the initial rental application should state whether it is a familial tenancy or not. You will be asked about the number of people allowed on the lease.
Remember, a second chance apartment is different from a regular apartment interview. Things like bad credit, your past criminal record, or a poor rental history will be explored.
A landlord wants to know if you are reliable, responsible, and financially prepared for the duration of the tenancy. This means paying rent on time, adhering to the rules of the lease, and the community/complex guidelines.
To Be or Not To Be.....That
is the Question!
Renting is simple if you prepare. Understanding what is expected of you as a renter from the very beginning will go a long way to being a successful and valuable tenant.
During the application process with the office staff, property manager or landlord, be transparent and courteous. Show them that you are serious about the apartment application. This means preparing the right documentation, dressing the part, and not trying to conceal information.
If your application is approved be sure to discuss the lease with the landlord prior to signing, especially if you are unsure about certain terms and conditions. By exercising the necessary landlord and tenant etiquette, you will earn the respect of your landlord. This includes receiving a reference from the property manager at the end of your lease should you pursue another apartment or property to rent.
When you are prepared and informed, you can improve your chances of receiving approval for a lease and pursue a rewarding tenancy.