By: Demetrios Salpoglou
After days or weeks of searching, you finally find an apartment. It pretty much has all the amenities that you want plus it fits your budget, your lifestyle, and the proximity to your job. You waste no time filling out the application and turning it in expecting to get accepted immediately.
Except the apartment complex rejects your application. You feel disappointed and confused. How does that happen? Is there something in your background that spooks the apartment staff? Are you making enough money to afford the rent? Maybe you unknowingly made a mistake on the paperwork.
Regardless of the reasons, there are ways to increase your chances of getting approved. As a result, you will avoid or fix the mistakes that cause the rejection of your application and you will get your apartment in no time.
Check Your Credit Scores
This should be the first step before you even start looking for an apartment. Check to see if your credit scores are at least decent. Check for any outstanding collections and pay them off if you have them. Review your credit report for any errors. If there is an error, contact the credit bureau immediately to get it fixed.
If you have poor credit and you can’t fix it in time for the apartment search, be prepared to inform the property manager or landlord and explain why and how it happened. It is possible to get accepted despite your poor credit, but you may have to rely on either a co-signer or your roommate’s credit.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you must inform the manager about it and submit documentation that proves your identity. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects identity theft victims and this protection extends to renting apartments.
The manager needs to know about it so that they won’t be surprised when they encounter a frozen credit file on your credit report. You will need to provide documents that can confirm your identity, such as driver’s license and utility bills mailed to your current address. They can ask you to approve a release through the credit bureau in order to obtain access to your report.
Fill Out the Application Completely and Accurately
Fill out the application completely and honestly as possible especially the required fields. If there are fields that do not apply to you, it would be best if you don’t leave them blank; just put N/A or not applicable instead.
Whatever you do, do not lie or misrepresent yourself on the application. If you think the manager will not find out, you are mistaken. They will conduct background check on you and when they discover you are not being truthful, you will get rejected.
The same goes for your roommate if you plan to have one. They have to fill out their own application in full and they have to be honest. Sloppy or missing information can cause the application’s processing to be delayed; false information can cause it to be rejected.
Submit all Requested Documents with the Application
Submit all the supporting documentation that the apartment complex is requesting. That includes proof of income, valid photo ID, rental history, and cover letter. A cover letter is useful when there are circumstances that may prevent you from getting the apartment, such as felony conviction and low credit scores. The letter should do a good job of explaining the circumstances and why the manager should give you a chance.
You obviously have to provide your proof of income to assure the property owner you make enough money to afford the rent. The most common types of proof of income are recent paycheck stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and/or W2s. There is a general guideline that you have to make at least three times the rent to qualify and either of these documents should prove this.
When receiving the application, find out exactly what supporting documents you need to provide. You may either request a checklist of the documentation from the staff or write up the list yourself. Either way, go over the list to ensure you have all the paperwork before turning in the application.
Pay the Fee
If you are working with a real estate company in Boston, chances are you going to pay an application fee so that the agent can pool all the necessary paperwork and required material together for proper processing.
Keep in mind the application fee will most likely be nonrefundable, so you probably won’t get the money back even if you don’t get the apartment. Another thing to keep in mind is that in Boston you will nearly always be required to provide a security deposit.
Filling out the apartment application is no brainer and these suggestions mentioned above may seem like common sense. However, getting it approved requires discipline and cooperation with the apartment staff. Believe it or not, many applicants fail to provide accurate and complete information whether they know it or not. They could have avoided making these mistakes and save themselves time and stress. When you submit the application correctly, it won’t be long before you will get the keys to your apartment stress-free.