Qualifying for an Apartment Lease
Updated: Apr 19
Before you rush out to apply for an apartment lease it is a good idea to determine if you qualify for a lease. Why? Because application fees are not refundable if your application is denied. Each apartment has qualifying rental criteria you have to meet in order to be approved for an apartment lease. If you don't meet it you are at risk of application denial.
Here are things you will likely need and need to meet in order to lease an apartment.
Photo Identification Most potential landlords will ask for proof of identification to make sure you are who you say you are. Usually, a driver's license or government-issued ID is sufficient. Meet Occupancy Limit Many apartments have occupancy limits and typically it is 2 people to one bedroom, 4 people to a two bedroom and 6 people to a three bedroom. Some may not count infants up to a certain age. Provide Proof of Income Most apartment communities require you earn 3 times the amount of the rent in Texas. For example, If the rent amount is $1200 you would be required to show proof that you earn $3600 per month gross income. Potential landlords will typically accept 3-4 most recent pay stubs or an offer of employment letter. If you're a contractor, self-employed or a cash wage earner, then you'll need to find another way to prove that you can pay the rent. This might mean showing 3 months of bank account statements or providing your most recent tax return. (Always black out account numbers) Decent Credit Condition Most apartment communities will conduct a credit check. Your credit doesn't need to be pristine to be approved, however, it needs to be in decent shape. Typically, if your score is 575+ you won't run into issues - unless you have an unpaid housing debt or several late pays ,charge offs or recent bankruptcy. Many apartments don't go off the actual score; some use a credit scoring platform and are evaluating your debt-to-income ratio as well as your bill payment history. If you have good lines of credit to help off set the bad lines you have a better chance of application approval. If most or all lines of credit are bad you will have a higher chance of application denial or they may require you have a co-signer or guarantor. Some apartments will approve applicants with poor credit with a higher deposit or risk fee. If your credit score is under 500, you have a housing debt, or you have a recent bankruptcy you will likely have a better chance of application approval at an apartment that offers second chance leasing.
Good Rental History (unless 1st time renter) Most apartment communities require you have good rental history - free of broken leases, evictions, or other landlord debt. Most applications require you provide 2-4 years of rental history. If you have poor rental history you still may be able to lease at a community that offers second chance leasing - let your locator know if you have a negative rental history. Meet Pet Policy Most apartments have a pet limit of 2 pets per apartment. They may also have breed and weight restrictions. Meet Criminal Background Provision Some apartments will not accept applicants with any criminal background or they may accept certain minor offenses. Many times it depends on how long ago the charge was and what it was for. If you have a criminal background you still may be able to lease at a community that offers second chance leasing - let your locator know if you have a criminal background.
At Texas Apartment Locating, our goal is that our clients are approved at the first apartment they apply to. We don't like to see our clients lose money on application fees. If you have any concern that you may not meet a certain qualifying criteria let your locator know. We assist clients in leasing all day - everyday, and can help answer your questions about leasing.
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