How to prepare your rental application
The search for a rental in a big city can be agonizing. First, there’s the search online or on foot, wading through dozens of advertisements that need to meet your budget and criteria. Second, there’s the showing, where every hungry candidate tries to sway the landlord into renting to them and only them!
How can you put your best foot forward, show off your organization skills, prove that you're serious and secure the rental of your dreams?
In this post, we’ll go over which documents you should have with you during the unit showing, helping you save time during the application process while giving everything to the landlord or property manager without delay.
All of the following information can be presented on a streamlined rental resume for ultimate efficiency!
Before you go to see the unit, you should go ahead and get an employment letter from your supervisor or boss ahead of time.
The brief letter will detail your job description, how long you’ve been employed, hours of work per week, and annual salary if necessary. You can also supplement the employment letter with a pay stub or bank statement that shows your net income on a monthly basis.
Most landlords will qualify their new tenants by verifying their income and employment status, which helps ensure that they can afford to pay rent each month.
Providing a credit check, obtained via Equifax, TransUnion or elsewhere, will complete an essential step that most landlords will undertake themselves. Hopefully, the landlord in question will notice the extra legwork you've done to secure the rental, helping you stand out from the crowd.
Credit checks show how financially responsible you are, if you pay your bills on time, and if you’re in good standing with creditors.
Previous landlord references
Landlords will use your personal financial information to determine if you can afford the unit, but they’ll use personal references from your previous landlord(s) to determine if you’ll be a good fit as a respectful and responsible tenant.
To be ahead of the curve, you can ask for a reference letter from your last landlord which details your punctual payment history, if maintenance requests went smoothly and if you were courteous to neighbours.
Alternatively, you can provide the new landlord with your old landlord's phone number for a quick chat, provided you get consent.
If you can get a rental application from the landlord ahead of time via email, it’ll save a lot of back and forth, especially seeing as you can bring the completed form to the showing. If you're interested in the unit once you've looked things over, submit the application on the spot.
On most rental applications, you'll see the cost of the security deposit (last month’s rent), and it'll ask for your personal information and references.
Landlords will want to verify that you can afford both first and last month’s rent before you get the keys to the unit.
Proof of renters insurance
If you have an experienced landlord, they’re probably going to require proof of renters insurance, and it could be mandatory if you want to move into the unit.
Luckily, renters insurance is the cheapest form of property insurance, averaging $20 to $35 per month in most cases. Renters insurance protects your personal property from damage, and will provide you liability coverage if someone gets injured in your unit.