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What You Need for an Apartment Application

After you have toured apartments and finally decided upon one which fits all of your search criteria, it’s time to fill out the application. Filling out the paperwork in a timely fashion is of benefit to you.

You don’t want to forget any pertinent information. Many times we hear from renters that went home to get some additional personal information to complete the application only to find out someone else had leased the place that they desired.

image - What You Need for an Apartment Application
What You Need for an Apartment Application

When you out touring different complexes be sure you have this complete list of items so you can get approved fast.

Apartment Application: What is it

It is a set of documents that the landlord or apartment management company will use to process and screen their potential renters.

You will be required to pay for this. The fees usually are in the neighborhood of $50 per applicant.

Married individuals will usually get a discount. Almost all communities will run a full background check to determine who you are and your previous rental history.

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Where to Locate the Application

Normally you will have to ask your leasing agent for a paper application. However, more and more complexes are not including the application online.

You might be able to complete this over your phone or on your computer. Remember to do it as quickly as possible.

If you’re moving to Houston, the majority of Midtown Houston rentals have gone paperless. Everything has now been moved to the web.

What You Will Need to Complete the Process

Social Security Number

You will need to list your social security number on the application. This number will be used to check out who you are.

In most cases, you won’t need a social security card. Just remember the 9 digit number that was issued to you.

Car Information

If you are bringing a vehicle with you, you will want to know the make and model of your car or truck. Also, your full license plate number and the state that issued your plate will be required.


Be sure and have your driver’s license with you. Your ID has your full name, date of birth, and other pertinent information

How Much do You Make

The community will mandate that you meet the income requirements. They will want to know how much money you make. You will also need to prove this as well.

Be sure and ask the leasing agent what their income requirements are. If you don’t meet them, don’t bother applying. You will just be wasting money on the application fee.

Pay Stubs

Now you will need to prove that you make the money you stated. This can be done by providing income tax returns, pay stubs, or even bank statements.

Employment Info

Your landlord might want to know where you work as well as previous employment. They might be looking for patterns in your job history.

Many times they don’t want a tenant who has spotty employment. They also will want to confirm your salary.

Personal Contacts

In the event of an emergency, your landlord may need to contact your immediate family. So providing a father, mother, or siblings will usually be the best option here.

Previous References

The community is going to want to know where you have lived before. They will want the name, address, and contact info for previous landlords or apartment management companies.

Sometimes they will ask for personal references. This might be a friend or a former boss who can elaborate a bit on your behalf.

It’s always a good idea to have these people in mind before you apply at your first complex. This might hold up your application if you don’t have anyone in mind.

Additional Documentation

If you’re bringing a pet with you they may want the papers. Many communities don’t allow aggressive breeds and will want to see just what kind of dog you have.

Processing the Application

So you have all the information you need, and the application has been completed in its entirety. What happens next.

Pay the Fees

Before any processing has taken place, you will need to pay the required application fees. Many communities also charge an administration fee.

What are these fees for? These are fees that the properties will charge for processing all of the paperwork.

Remember application fees are around $50. Administration fees might be as low as $100 but could be as much as $250 or even higher.

Approve a Credit Check

With your approval, the apartment manager can now conduct a full credit check. They will be checking over your debts and even get your credit score.

Many Houston apartments are now using your Fico Score in the algorithms. If it’s too low, they potentially could automatically deny you.

Items that can lower your score include your balance on credit cards, unpaid medical bills, and any other debt that might be an issue.

If you have a broken lease or a recent bankruptcy you will want to bring this to the manager’s attention before you apply.

Approve the Background Check

The background checks your criminal history if applicable. This is how landlords will screen you.  If you have a previous misdemeanor or felony this will weigh heavily on the manager’s final decision.

We recommend that you bring this up before you apply. Many communities won’t allow any type of convictions. You will be better off moving on and finding another place to rent.

Pay the Deposit

When you pay the apartment deposit, the community will hold the residences for you so nobody else can lease it from underneath you.

The good news about apartment deposits in large communities is they are usually just a few hundred dollars. If you lease a private home or a duplex, you might pay as much as one month’s rent as your deposit.

Now You Wait

Apartment applications will vary on the length of time they are approved. In some of the newer modern communities using the latest software, they can approve you in under an hour. Other times it can take days.

Each apartment community will have its policies. So you will want to get with them regarding approval time.

What to Take Away

  • Make sure you have all the documentation with you to fill out the apartment application so you won’t be delayed.
  • The application fee will be non-refundable. If there is an administration fee, ask if that will be refundable if you are denied.
  • Be persistent. If you haven’t heard from the property in a couple of days, follow up with the manager.

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