Apartment renting simplified

4 minutes read | Posted on: Apr 24, 2023

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By: Smaya Anand

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Photo by Jarek Ceborski on Unsplash

Once you’ve found an apartment you like, unfortunately your work isn’t yet over. Now, it’s time for the less fun aspect of finding a place to live– the paperwork. There are some documents you’ll need to fill out before you can get ownership of your apartment, and here we have a guide on them.

The Application

Your application needs to prove to a landlord that you can be a responsible tenant who will pay bills on time and who will treat the property well. In order to effectively do that, there are some documents that your landlord will need to see with your application.

  • Proof of income: Usually a few paystubs are fine, but if you have a less traditional job, you might be asked to provide a bank statement. You may also consider making a list of your job history, because if you show you can hold a job for a length of time, the landlord may think that you are trustworthy.
  • Photo ID: This can be a drivers’ license, a state ID, a passport, etc.
  • Rental History: This will have to list the places you have rented in the past, but it may also need references from your previous landlords. This will show whether or not you have a good renting record.
  • Other References: You should make a list of people that your landlord could call or speak with to make sure you’d be a good tenant (other than previous landlords) ahead of time.

There are some documents that you may or may not need to have depending on your situation.

  • Pet Resume: If you have a pet, and the apartment you are choosing allows them, you may need to submit a resume of your pet, stating its traits and habits, a health summary, and references to show that it isn’t dangerous.
  • Proof of registration/Insurance for a vehicle: If you have a car that is going to be parked on the landlord’s property, you’ll have to show these two documents.

As for the application form itself, there is some information you’ll need to know to fill it out:

  • Legal Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number, for background and credit check purposes. You also may need to provide a copy of the card itself.
  • Any other occupants of the property

The Lease

If your application is accepted, to make the apartment your own you’ll have to sign the lease, an agreement between you and your landlord that you will not move out for the length of time specified in the lease and pay your rent in exchange for the housing and utilities that your landlord provides you with. Your lease will define how much you will pay in rent.

Make sure to read it carefully, so that you know what you can expect from your landlord. It’s also a good idea to keep your own copy of the lease.

Security Deposit

Also on the lease will be the amount of your security deposit, which will usually be worth about the same as one months’ rent. If you cause damage to the apartment while you’re staying there, then the landlord will take the repair money out of your security deposit. But if you don’t cause any damage, when you move out you can get your full security deposit back. This is why it’s important to take pictures of your apartment before you move in, especially if there is already some damage, that way you can prove that you didn’t cause any damage and that it was already there when you moved in.

If you have a pet, you also may need to pay a pet deposit, which is very similar to a security deposit except that it’s only for the damage that your pet causes.

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