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How to Get Approved for Your Next Lease

Are you in the process of renting a new apartment or home? Have you ever wondered what your prospective landlord will check for when approving you as a tenant for his/her rental property? Below, is a list of 8 important criteria that you should keep in mind when applying for your next rental apartment or home.

Note: Application criteria will vary depending on landlord. The following figures are intended to provide general guidance for you in your apartment search.


  • Many property managers and landlords will like to see that your gross monthly income is 2.5 times the stated monthly rent. If income is less than this, a qualified co-signer may be required.

  • To confirm your income meets the above requirement, a current paycheck stub, W2, and/or tax return from your employer may be required.

Debt to Gross Income Ratio

  • Your total monthly debt payments (to include the proposed rent) should not exceed 38% of your gross income.

Rental History

  • Landlords will want to see a history of rental payments from your previous landlord(s). Generally 1 year is required.

  • In addition, your new landlord will most likely ask for your current landlord's contact information to ask about your payment history and how you were as a tenant.

Employment History

  • The landlord may ask you for your employment history and scrutinize periods of unemployment, and frequent changes in employment.

Credit Score

  • Make sure your credit score is greater than 650.

  • If your credit report has two or more 30 day late payments within the last 2 years, your application may be rejected.

  • Open collection accounts, failure to pay child support, bankruptcies, and an untruthful application may also result in a declined application.

Criminal History

  • If you have been convicted of a felony and the conviction applies directly towards protection of property, safety of community, or your ability to pay rent; then that conviction may be a consideration for denial of your application.


  • Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act. Service Animals must be accepted in all properties. However, animals that do not fall under this category may be a reason for the rejection of your application.


  • The landlord is going to have to work with you for the duration of the lease (6-12 months usually). As a result, they need to be able to get along with you and trust that you will be a reliable tenant. When you meet the landlord for the first time, act as if it is a business interview.

  • Dress well, act polite, ask to take off your shoes before entering the property, and do what it takes to show that you are responsible and professional. This goes a long way and can be a deciding factor especially if there are many applicants competing for the property.

I hope this article provides you with some valuable insight in how landlords screen their prospective tenants. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I am always happy to assist you with your real estate needs!


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