A young woman preparing with the leasing agent to apply for an available apartment.

The Essentials Needed To Complete An Apartment Application

February 9, 2023

We all know the apartment search process can be very stressful and can often trigger a variety of emotions ranging from anxiety to confusion, and even anger. After you find that perfect apartment, your next step will be to begin the application process. Having these three essential items readily available to your landlord during the application process will help you rest assured that someone else does not beat you to the apartment of your dreams.

1. Do your best to have your finances in order beforehand.

One of the most important aspects of successfully submitting your application is to have your credit and income history required to fill out the application readily available. You don’t want to end up needing documents you don’t have and delaying the application process, only to have the vacancy pulled out from under you! Even if your credit history is less than ideal, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a lease. If you’re apprehensive about qualifying, check out our other resources for new renters!

2. Bring your checkbook (sorry).

Most landlords will screen prospective tenants by requiring them to complete an apartment application. However, the application alone cannot determine a renter’s reliability. For this reason, landlords will usually also run a background check and review your credit history. While these application fees have become increasingly controversial, they are still the standard practice in the industry. When you submit your application you will be required to pay an application fee, so have your checkbook handy. Many apartments will accept credit cards for your application fee, but they will likely charge a small fee for that service. Having to write a check doesn’t mean writing a blank check. If the application fee is higher than similar complexes, it’s worth considering whether the high fees are worth the risk of paying the fee and not qualifying.

3. Don’t forget your photo identification.  

You will be required to verify your identity on your rental application, so make sure to bring your driver’s license. If you do not have a driver’s license, then you will need another form of photo identification such as a passport, military ID, or state-issued ID.  Your potential landlord will likely use your official identification to review your rental history and help determine your creditworthiness.

4. Show proof of ability to pay rent.

Your landlord will want to verify that you have a job or the funds to pay the rent. You may need to provide current pay stubs or bank statements during the application process to show that you can afford the apartment. It’s important to be honest when disclosing your financial information.  Remember, most financial advisors recommend that your rent does not exceed 30% of your monthly income.  

Applying for an apartment can be a lengthy process, but having the required information in order can help speed up the process- and can help you get the apartment you want the first time! Our licensed, local apartment locators can help you land the perfect apartment and navigate your application as quickly as possible.  They are knowledgeable of qualification requirements and are able to provide you with a list of apartment choices that fit your standards and criteria, ultimately saving you time and money on wasted application fees.

*A version of this article was previously published on Angie's List.