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7 Tips on How to Avoid Rental Application Rejection

There is almost nothing more stressful than having your rental application rejected. Instead of feeling defeated, it's time to get to the root of the issue. Rental application denial can happen for many of reasons. It is likely due to one or more of these factors: poor credit, lack of credit, negative rental history, inadequate income, unstable job history, criminal record, or past financial woes such as a bankruptcy or foreclosure. If you have had a rental application denied, don't waste money on another application fee until you have read these tips!

1. Know the community's rental criteria

Before you apply, you need to know the rental criteria set forth by the community. Apartment's are required to give you this by Texas Law. This will save you time and money on applications. For example, if the community will not work with broken lease history and you have one then you will likely be denied. If the community requires you earn 3 times the rent and you only make 2 1/2 times the rent you will most likely be denied. If you have a large dog, and the community has 15 lb weight limit then you will likely be denied. If you have a misdemeanor or felony and the community doesn't accept criminal backgrounds you will likely be denied. You get the picture.

2. Check your credit

Start by checking your credit score and viewing your credit report. You can get all three major credit reports for free at If you find that your report has errors you didn't know about then call the credit-reporting agencies' toll-free numbers to find out how to dispute the charges. This can be a long process so it's not something that can be corrected overnight.

Ok, so what if you have bad credit? If there are no errors on your report but your credit is in poor shape, you'll need to do what you can to repair the problems. There is no miracle cure to fix bad credit. The only solution for dealing with negative marks like late payments and bankruptcy is to wait it out and start trying to build good credit in the future. If you have property debts and other debts owed then try to pay them off or make payment arrangements. There are some communities that work with poor credit and landlord debts so be sure your locator knows your situation upfront. Most communities working with credit issues will require you to pay an additional deposit or risk fee.

3. List job history

Many communities require a stable job history with few gaps of unemployment. Landlords and apartment managers want to know that you will be able to not only afford the lease but want to know your likelihood of continued employment is strong. Bring along 3-4 most recent pay stubs. If you are starting a new job, an offer letter from your employer may be required. If you are a cash earner be prepared to show 3 months of bank statements and/or your tax return.

4. List your rental history

Rental history is equally important as your job history when applying for an apartment. If you have rented in the past, come prepared with a list of contact information for each landlord. It's best to organize this by specific dates of when you lived at each rental property. Landlords and apartment managers want to know that you will be a responsible tenant. Showing that you have a strong rental history can go a long way toward avoiding rental-application rejection. Even if you have a broken lease or eviction on your record, many times if you can provide proof that you have a good rental history after the negative rental history this will help immensely.

4. Be professional & courteous

Always conduct yourself professionally. Being friendly with the office staff means more than you think. If the staff likes you then they will want you to get approved. They can make your application a priority. If you become frustrated and take it out on the staff this will most certainly work against you.

5. Contact personal references

Personal references are essential in verifying such details as your employment, and your overall character. It is important to pick personal references who can best articulate these to your potential landlord or apartment manager. This means finding reputable references as opposed to providing a list of your buddies. Some good personal references choices could be a past or current employer or co-worker, pastor of your church, community volunteer organizer, a teacher, or a professional family friend.

6. Be Honest

If you are not honest on your rental application you will almost always get caught. Most communities use third-party companies that run background checks and they are very thorough. You will always be denied if you are caught falsifying an application. You can always provide a letter of explanation to explain any negative rental issues, bad credit, or criminal history.

7. Work with a reputable apartment locator

An experienced apartment locator can save you time, hassle and money by checking the communities rental criteria and only recommending communities that will give you a fair chance of application approval. No locator can guarantee you will be approved as there are many factors in the approval process.

At Texas Apartment Locating, our goal is that our clients are approved at the FIRST apartment they apply at! We will only send you listings if we believe you have a "fair chance" of application approval. Complete a short search request form to start your apartment search today! Please read our blog post on Second Chance Leasing if you have a criminal background, landlord debt, or other financial woes.

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