Rental Apartment Paperwork Checklist

image of rental paperwork

So, you found an apartment that you’re in love with, and now you’re ready to apply. Sweet! Now let’s get down to business. It’s incredibly important to have all the necessary paperwork lined up ahead of time so that the application process runs smoothly. Being prepared with the right paperwork often makes the difference between landing the apartment and getting beat out by a competitor. Follow this rental apartment paperwork checklist to help guarantee you’ll get approved.

Rental Apartment Paperwork Checklist

  • Employment letter on company letterhead stating your job title, job functions, salary and length of employment
  • Three most recent pay stubs
  • Three most recent bank statements
  • Most recent income tax W2 form
  • First page and signature page of most recent federal tax return
  • Copy of photo Identification
  • Money for application and credit check fee (generally $75-$100)

The credit check fee is generally non-refundable whether your application is approved or denied. However, the amount may transferable to another apartment application. Ask your broker if you can transfer the fee.

>>Why Do Landlords Even Care About My Credit?

Be Careful of Additional Rental Apartment Fees

Many landlords require a deposit to take an apartment off the market. This may vary from a few hundred dollars to one month’s rent. Make sure you get a receipt when you give your deposit. If you are not approved for the apartment, you can get a full refund on this. If you are approved for the apartment, the deposit will typically go towards your first month’s rent or your security deposit. Be sure you really want the place before you hand over a deposit, because if you are approved but then back out, chances are you won’t get your deposit back.

Got a Guarantor? They’ll Need to Provide Paperwork Work, Too

If you’re using a guarantor or plan on having roommates, they will need to provide the same paperwork. If the guarantor or occupant is self-employed, they’ll need to get a letter from their accountant stating their income.

Additional Rental Apartment Paperwork and Documentation

These guidelines are standard for most rentals, but some landlords may require additional documentation, such as:

  • Cancelled rent checks
  • Copy of your social security card
  • References from previous landlords
  • Past tax returns

If you bring the standard paperwork up front, you should be okay as long as you get them the rest in a timely fashion. Some landlords require less than what is stated above, but it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Having your paperwork handy prior to your apartment search will look good when you meet with the broker or leasing agent, and it’s also a great way to start the relationship with your future landlord.