In a competitive rental market, you want your application to be approved. I’ve been a property manager for over 10 years, so I have five important tips to help get that rental application for sure approved. These tips are especially helpful if you don’t have the best credit, or if you have an animal…
1. Get organized before you go on the apartment hunt
When I’m reviewing rental applicants, if an application is organized and thorough, the cards will already be in your favor. Most landlords will require you to fill out an application, provide a copy of your photo ID, submit documented proof of income, and they will charge you an application processing fee to run your credit.
If you are moving for a new job, make sure to have the signed offer letter from your new employer. If you are self-employed, get a copy of your tax return and copy a few bank statements to show current consistent income.
The more organized you are the less work the landlord will need to do. This will automatically enhance your application and put you ahead of the pack.
2. Write an introduction cover letter
Write a few paragraphs sharing a little history about who you are, the reason for your move, your financial background, and a few sentences to personalize why you are interested in that particular apartment. You should also include an explanation of any negative credit marks, so there are no surprises when they run your credit. Ask your current landlord to write a short recommendation to show your rental record of paying on time.
3. Secure a financial Guarantor if you have poor credit
Applicants with poor credit may need to ask a friend or family member with good credit and ample income to act as their financial Guarantor/co-signer. That person is guaranteeing that they will pay your rent if you don’t. As landlords we sometimes think, why should we trust this person with a bad track record to pay rent on-time each month, if their friends and family won’t vouch for them?
The guarantor will also need to submit the same application documents as the applicant. If you get these documents ready ahead of time it could save you a few days of scrambling. If you cannot secure a guarantor, try offering to pay a double security deposit or pay a few months of rent in advance.
4. Offer more rent per month — especially if you have a pet
If you have a pet, offering additional “pet rent” will give the landlord an incentive to choose you over an applicant with no pets. You should also expect to pay a pet deposit, provide pet references, and purchase renter’s insurance to cover your pet’s liability.
5. Have a good attitude
I think this might be the most important tip! Searching and applying for apartments can be a stressful time for a prospective renter. Running around looking at multiple places and providing personal financial documents can create anxiety which sometimes manifests in a bad attitude. Make sure to be polite and friendly to the leasing agent, landlord, or owner. Your pleasant attitude will have a direct impact on the success of your application. This one seems like a no-brainer, but from my experience, sometimes ya really do need this reminder.
Rental managers and dwellers: Dish the goodies! What are your secrets for nailing the rental application?