Finding the right place can be difficult, especially in a rental market where there is a shortage of rentals (like here in Lake County, Florida right now). You look and look and think you're all set when you find the place you want. You fill out the rental application, pay the fee with it, and wait. If you're lucky, you'll be approved and you'll be good to go. If you're not, you may find yourself beginning the search all over again. So let's think about this question - for what reason can a rental application be denied?
You can be denied if you don't pass the credit check. Most property managers / owners have a certain score they're looking for. If your score isn't high enough, you can be denied the rental. Suggestion - long before you need to start searching for a rental, do everything possible to improve your credit! Take a look at this post for ideas on how this can be done - What can I do to improve my credit before switching rentals? If you have someone that might be willing to cosign a lease for you, that might be an option. Read this - Do I need a cosigner to rent? A cosigner might make the landlord feel more comfortable renting to you if your credit isn't up to the standard they want to see because they know someone else will be legally responsible for paying your rent (if you don't) if they consign for you. For more suggestions on renting with less than perfect credit, take a look at this - Can I rent if I have bad credit?
You can be denied if you have an eviction showing on your record. Property managers want tenants that won't cause problems. If you were evicted from a property, it is assumed that there were issues when you rented. Regardless of if those issues were your fault, it can be extremely difficult to convince a property owner to take the risk of renting to you if you have an eviction in your past. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. Take a look at this post - Can I rent with an eviction on my record? It contains suggestions for what you can do to improve your chances of finding a rental with an eviction in your history.
You don't pass the background check. One of the checks many property managers run is a criminal background check. As an owner, I want to know that you don't have a criminal history. For us, you can't have a conviction for misdemeanors for crimes involving violence, assault or battery, drugs, or firearms. We look to see if you have felonies on your record within the past seven years, and we won't rent to you if you have ever been convicted of a sexual offense. The last thing I want in my rentals is a person that will cause their neighbors problems or make them feel unsafe. I also look to see if prospective tenants show slow pays, judgments, evictions, collections, liens, or bankruptcies.
You don't pass the rental history check that the property manager may run. I take the time to contact your current and previous landlords to find out if they consider you as being a good tenant. That means I want to hear that you paid your rent on time, gave sufficient notice of your intent to vacate, didn't disturb others, didn't commit criminal acts while you were a renter, kept the place clean / neat, and didn't damage the unit. To me, if you were a problem at a previous rental, chances are you'll be a problem at my rental as well.
You can't provide positive proof of identity. In order to rent, the landlord will want to verify that you are who you claim to be. Without knowing your true identity, the checks that they run won't give them the information they need to know about you, their prospective renter. I require that my renters show a photo ID when they turn in a rental application. That can include a drivers license, passport, military ID, or a state issued ID. Here in Florida, to get a driver's license or a state ID, there are three Drivers License and Motor Vehicle Centers in Lake County. Here is a list of what you need to bring with you in order to get your photo drivers license or Florida identification card. Before attempting to fill out an application for a rental, make sure you have the positive proof of identity that will be required.
You don't make enough money. For us, we want to see at least three times the rent in overall income. If you don't make that, chances are you'll struggle with paying your rent. If you aren't sure about how much you can afford to pay in monthly rent, be sure to read this article.
You can't provide proof of income. I ask my tenants for copies of their two most recent pay stubs and two years of tax returns. If someone says they can't provide what I need to see, chances are they're not making the income that they claim to have. Not only to I require these items, but I also contact your employer to verify that you are currently working and have a good history as an employee.
You refuse to pay the rental application fee. There is a cost incurred for running all of the checks that property managers run on prospective tenants, and that fee is the responsibility of the person trying to get the rental. If you refuse to pay that fee (usually $50 - $150), chances are you aren't a good financial risk as a tenant.
You can't come up with the security deposit that's required. A security deposit helps an owner to know that the place being rented will be in the same condition as when a tenant moved in. If you can't come up with that amount, many times a landlord won't consider you as a tenant.
You lie on your application or you lie to the property manager. Chances are that with all of the checks we run, lies you tell will be exposed. As soon as I realize that a prospective tenant is lying about their situation, red flags go up in my mind. I can't help but think that there must be something there that you are trying to hide.
When you find the apartment you want, how do you go about making sure your application is approved? Take a look at the 10 things landlords want in a renter and the best rental advice for tenants (pay attention to the section labeled as "before you sign the lease").
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