Once you find the perfect place (yay!!), it’s time to submit your rental application to secure your place! Rental Applications help landlords learn more about potential tenants and allow them to get key information, like credit and job status, so they can make smart decisions about who to rent to. As a renter, this is also your opportunity to showcase why you are the perfect candidate to rent the apartment you love. Here are a few tips to make your rental application stand out… for the right reasons!
Follow all directions
First thing’s first… read the application instructions and read them again! Some landlords are particular on how the application is written – like requiring pen instead of pencil for scanning or asking it to be delivered in an envelope with a specific address – and it’s best to complete it as they ask you to. Most applications will have a couple quick instructions toward the top of the page outlining how to complete the form. This can often be a mini “test” as landlords want to understand if you are a conscientious or careless potential tenant.
If the Rental Application requires a fee (and many do!), check which form of payment is preferred by the landlord, whether cash, check, cashier’s check, or other form of payment. The last thing you want is for your application fee to slow down the process, or your lack of following directions to result in you losing the apartment of your dreams!
Complete the application honestly, including job history, any pet and roommates. Many landlords will attempt to verify the employment history you write down on your application, and being honest will always help.
Before completing your application, also make decisions on if you are bringing any pets into the apartment, how many roommates you plan to have, and who they are. Most Rental Applications will require information on each person living in the apartment before they will approve it. Also have in mind your desired move-in date and the tenure you plan to stay in the apartment. While these dates may be flexible, it provides a framework for both you and the landlord.
Finally, protect your completed application! It will usually have both financial and personal information – like social security number – so it is not a paper that should be left around. Try to get the form completed in one sitting and immediately put it in an envelope in a safe place before delivering it.
References are a great way for a potential landlord to get to know you. If the Rental Application doesn’t ask for references (and does not specifically say “no references” in the instructions!), print out your reference contacts and attach it to the application. A great format to include is the below –
Reference Name, Relationship to you – Phone Number; i.e. Jane Smith, Former landlord – 555-5555
This gives your potential landlord a starting point if they would like to get in touch with any people that know you personally. It’s best to include a mix of personal and professional references – think of past employers or landlords, professors, or work peers in addition to a close friend or two. Always ask your reference if they would mind being a reference for you before you share the list!
Add a personal note
If you really love the apartment, write up a quick letter to the landlord sharing a few specific things you love about their apartment and why you would be a great tenant for them (i.e. steady job, involved in your community, dedicated/driven, etc.). This can be short and sweet (one or two paragraphs should do it!) and is your chance to show your personality to the landlord. Attach it with your references to the back of the Rental Application when you deliver it.
Clean up social media
Finally, before submitting your application, take time to clean up all of your social media accounts! We cannot emphasize this enough! Delete any old photos that may not reflect your personality now and make accounts as private as possible. Most landlords will search your name to learn more about you, and you don’t want to deter them with raucous pictures, foul language, or otherwise inappropriate content. And while you are at it, don’t forget to reconsider the email address you use, firstname.lastname@example.org, is not going to instill confidence in a potential landlord.
With these tips in mind, you are sure to submit a stellar Rental Application. Fingers crossed for you!