June 26, 2020

What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment – the Ultimate Checklist

If you’re moving to a new city or another part of the town, you’re probably wondering what do you need to rent an apartment? Or even better – how should you ensure you’re the one who will actually sign the lease once you find a place you like?

The key to landing your number one pick, besides being up to date with the supply and demand on the market, is to show up prepared. With our ultimate checklist, you’ll find some handy apartment-hunting tips to help you sign the lease for your dream residence.

Pay Stubs or Bank Statements Prove Your Regular Income and Ability to Pay Rent

These documents will be useful to your landlord if they want to make sure you’re employed and have a regular income to fulfill monthly payments. Landlords usually ask for two most recent pay stubs, and providing them with a copy will be fine.

Also, bank statements are just as valid in case you don’t have pay stubs. However, if possible, bring with you both forms of evidence – some landlords prefer one over the other. This way, your prospective landlord will no doubt think that you’re the right person for their flat.

Factors That Impact the Market Can Be Useful for Negotiating the Rent

Have you found a perfect place to live, but there is one thing that bothers you – the rental price is too high? And you don’t know how to go about negotiating the price? Actually, prices are negotiable, which means you can ask for a lower one before signing the new lease (or when the time comes to renew the current one).

To negotiate successfully, keep in mind the timing and situation – these are the keys that can help you lower your rental rate. Some of the best times to enter into negotiations are:

  • At the end of the month – this is the time when landlords look for new tenants
  • When you know you can stay at least 12 months or longer
  • During the winter season – it’s usually the most challenging time to find renters
Negotiation about the rental price is possible

A Letter of Recommendation Might Be Crucial When It Comes to the Final Decision

Besides references, some landlords might require written letters of recommendation from your recent landlords or from your past. These letters should testify how reliable you are when it comes to paying and emphasize all your positive characteristics. Sometimes, an excellent recommendation might be the connecting link between you and the apartments you like the most.

Letters of recommendation are sometimes the key when choosing the final tenants

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Vehicle Registration and Proof of Insurance

In some bigger cities that require having a car, you can find apartments with a parking spot. If you have a valid registration and proof of car insurance, they can help you get a desirable flat as a reliable and responsible future resident.

It's not uncommon for parking spaces to go along with apartments

The Social Security Number to Run Your Credit Check

If you’re wondering whether you should give your Social Security Number (SSN) on a rental application, the short answer is no. But, no law forbids your prospective landlord from asking for your SSN to run your credit check, which is legal and common practice. You should memorize this number before hunting for an apartment and avoid keeping it in your phone or written down. Also, you have several options instead of writing when it comes to the rental application:

  • Leave the space blank and let your landlord know why explaining that you’ll provide all the necessary information to run the credit check
  • Obtain a copy of your credit reports
  • You should request that your application be destroyed after it’s examined

Can You Rent with No Credit?

This option is doable if you find a friend or family member with good credit willing to co-sign the lease. That means they are promising to pay your rent if something prevents you from doing so. Another possible solution is to pay several months of rent upfront if you have a lot of savings.

A friend or family member can be your co-signer

A Rental Application Requires Rental History

If you’re in search of your first apartment, you shouldn’t worry about this issue. However, this is something to consider if you have a longer rental history. That being said, your pristine reputation is one of the most important things for your future housing.

An excellent rental past is a must when renting

Find Out Something More About the Standards in the Apartment Building

When relocating to a new home, you can’t be sure which parts of your place need upgrading to meet the current building codes. The most common ones are hard to locate because they are buried behind walls. However, there are several things you should pay special attention to before moving in:

  • Missing or defective ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection (GFCI) – it’s required for outlets in the bathroom, kitchen, and garage, and for all outdoor circuits
  • Handrails on stairways without returns
  • Improper bathroom venting
  • Missing deck flashing
  • Misplaced smoked alarms

Types of Amenities in an Apartment

Besides potential building code violations, the community where your prospective apartment is definitely has its amenities. Make sure to get the necessary information about all the options:

  • Types of outdoor amenities (pool, walking trails, outdoor gyms, bike parking/locking stations, dog parks, etc.)
  • Types of indoor amenities (gyms, coffee shops, game rooms, lounges, etc.)
  • Types of service amenities (laundry service, on-site massage, etc.)
Make sure your future place has some amenities you can use as a resident

If You’re Thinking About a Roommate, Be Careful

Do you know what happens when two or more people sign the lease or the same rental agreement? They become co-tenants, which means sharing the same responsibilities and legal rights. If one of them starts acting up – for example, not paying on time – that negative behavior can affect everyone’s tenancy. That’s why you should set clear expectations at the beginning of co-tenancy and make sure to define clearly define everyone’s rights and responsibilities.

First Step – Learn to Handle Disputes Between You and Your Roommate

To avoid roommate problems, you should sit down and discuss how to overcome any housing issues. After reaching an agreement on how to handle splitting utilities, paying rent, or cleaning the apartment, the best solution is to draft your own roommate agreement. Sometimes there may be a significant problem that can’t be worked out with your roommate. It would be best if you searched for a local landlord-tenant attorney to provide you with information on how to resolve the issue in the best possible way.

So, if you’re moving to another city and a new condo, keep in mind that after hiring professional movers and relocation, your first step should be defining what you need to rent an apartment. After that, your settling down will be a piece of cake.

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