Rental Applications 101

Renting a new home can be an exciting journey, but it can also come with a few stressors. Here is a quick overview of the rental application process to help you be best prepared.

Published on
February 8, 2023
Read time
Rental Applications 101


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As part of the search for your future home, you are sure to encounter rental applications. Rental applications are forms that property managers use to request detailed information from potential renters and determine if they are qualifiable. Since rental applications are an essential part of beginning your new home journey, here’s a quick overview to help you be best prepared.

What is a Rental Application?

A rental application is a way for landlords to get a sense of your qualifications and whether or not you fit their specific criteria for a renter. Though there are many legal questions on an application, all are essentially designed to further obtain a tenant’s clear history and background. An important aspect to note is that “the landlord can legally set whatever conditions they want in terms of who is an acceptable tenant,” however, “there are stipulations set by law as to how far those conditions can go” (“The Rental Application- Things to Know, n.d.). It’s important to note that this is the first thing the landlord will see from you, therefore, you’ll probably want to include as much as you can about yourself and those individuals you will be living with. 

Why Do I Need to Fill Out a Rental Application?

Being prepared to promptly complete a rental application can give tenants a head start on leasing the most desirable properties. This will work in their favor, as the housing market is an incredibly competitive one. A rental application is a chance for tenants to demonstrate who their qualifications, allowing the landlord an opportunity to get a better sense of who may be renting their home. Some things you may see in your rental application include “A minimum of three times the monthly rent in gross income[,] Good credit score and history of timely payments[,] Ability to pass a criminal background check[, and] Good rental history without evictions” (Adams, 2021), but keep in mind that each application can be different. These matters are often somewhat personal, so it would be wise to ensure that everything listed above has been taken care of before applying. 

Important Things to Keep in Mind:

Let’s get into the details of what exactly you should have crystal clear by the time you’re ready to apply for a rental home.

Monetary Requirements:

Monetary requirements might be the most important part of the application process. Your credit reports and background checks may be pulled when applying for a rental home. In this credit report, some of the items you may need to provide are your credit score, total debt, payment history, and more. An ideal credit score is anywhere from 670-850. These numbers fall in and around the “good” and “exceptional” categories of credit scores. These “standings” are one of the tools a property manager may use to determine if you qualify to rent the property. Your payment history also helps a property manager gain more insight into how you typically spend.

List Your Employment and Income:

The purpose of listing employment and income on an application helps a property manager identify if you meet the minimum income requirement, as the rental market is constantly rising and changing at all times (Agadoni, 2020).

Rental Application References:

Another part of the rental application process may require you to list references. The purpose of this is to have people who can vouch for how responsible you are, and help to boost your chances of getting your house. It is important to note that these references should not be people close to you, such as friends or family. Instead, try a manager, coworker, teacher, or neighbor to limit any bias on your application. 

Past Living Experiences:

Our last example of something you can see on an application is a brief description of where you’ve lived previously. This may ask for your previous address, city, state, and zip code, the date you moved into each place, the date you moved out, how much you paid in rent, and sometimes contact information for your previous landlord. Providing your previous landlord’s phone number could also qualify as a reference and give you the upper hand when applying for a home, assuming there was an amicable relationship between tenant and landlord. 

Although this can be a stressful time, it is also exciting, as you embark on this new journey! Head over to the Bridge Homes website for more information on our qualifications and find your next rental home!


A tenant’s guide to the rental application process

The rental application process: How to succeed at every step

What is a rental application?

The rental application—Things to know

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