What do I need to put an application in for a rental property?
- Government Issued Photo ID
- Cashier Check or Money Order to complete landlord rental application.
- Employment and rental history
- Proof of Security/Pet Deposit (Landlord can request up to 2 months rent)
- Pay stubs (Last 2)
How to navigate bad credit.
- Know your credit score before submitting an application. Knowing your credit score can help you and your agent better prepare for your search. It may be difficult sharing your personal information with someone you don’t know, but the more your agent knows, the more prepared she’ll be to represent you. There are landlords who specify “good credit required.” Your agent can speak on your behalf to find out what “good credit required” means to the landlord. If the landlord required a credit score of 670 and your credit score is 600, you submit an application (which ranges on average from $35-$75 per applicant) with a credit score of 600, and the landlord denies you… you just lost your money because the application fee is non-refundable. Had your agent known this upfront, she could have saved you money and all parties, time. Of course there's no guarantee your application will be accepted regardless of your credit. However, you'll be able to weed out the homes where there's no chance of being accepted before it's too late.
- Disclose the information up front. Again, share your credit score with your agent. She’ll be able to advise you if now is a good time to rent or if you need to work on a few items. However, if she feels you have a chance at finding a home, be open to disclosing your past hardships with the landlord. The reality is your credit score, rental history, and background will be checked. Don’t leave them with more questions than answers. You sharing your story will help fill in the gaps and make them trust you more.
- Be prepared to pay two months rent for the security deposit. There’s nothing like receiving the call that your application was accepted, but the landlord is asking for two months deposit and you don’t have enough to cover the bill. A lot of people don’t realize the rental process can be just as expensive as a traditional purchase. Make sure you have three times the asking rent available to cover the cost of the first month rent and two months security deposit, if needed.
- Review and understand your lease. If there’s something you don't understand in your lease, ask BEFORE signing. You’ll have all parties attention at that time, including your agent, the listing agent and the landlord.
- Know how to reach your landlord. Having questions is a natural thing whenever you move into a new home. You’ll have to shift gears from asking your agent all the questions to learning how to reach out to your landlord, as s/he will most likely be your number one resource. Again, review your lease to see if your landlord has provided contact information. If the information isn’t there, ask for it before signing the lease. You should also determine if there’s a preferred time of day for contact and what the expected response time will be. You don’t want to come across as a pest but the landlord doesn’t want to come across as not caring either. Effective communication is very important to a successful landlord/tenant relationship.
- Report emergency issues to the landlord. Have your landlord define what they consider as an emergency. A blown light bulb or clogged toilet that only requires plunging is something you should be able to handle on your own. However, water leaking from the ceiling or noticing weird looking bugs near wood in the house seems like something the landlord would like to know. There are landlords who require a repair deductible for fixing items in the home. It’s important to know what the deductible fee and items the fee will cover prior to signing the lease.