When you fill out a rental application, you will need to provide several pieces of information that will be verified through screening. Be prepared before you head out to look for a new apartment by understanding what types of screenings landlords routinely perform.
1. Personal Interview
You and your landlord may not have to interact constantly, but you should be compatible since you are entering into a business arrangement. Expect a personal interview at the start of the application process. Be honest and upfront about any issues, and make sure you ask questions, too.
2. Credit Report
Any potential landlord will want to know if you are good about paying your financial obligations. That means they will run a check against your credit report to look for any potential red flags. It can be a good idea to request a copy ahead of time to ensure it is accurate and up to date.
3. Previous Rental History
Expect to provide information about any previous rentals and the relationships you had with landlords. You should have contact information available to pass along because they will probably want to verify that information. They may also check with an eviction database to see if you have had problems in the past that did not end up in an actual eviction proceeding.
4. Criminal Background Check
Your criminal history for the past seven years may be reviewed as part of the application process. A criminal background check can cover local, state, or national databases. Felonies, misdemeanors, and other criminal offenses such as tickets and fines may appear on the search. Current outstanding warrants may show up also if they have been recorded.
5. Income and Employment Verification
When you fill out an application for a rental unit, you will be asked some basic questions about your income and employment status. You should expect this information to be verified, either through a request for paystub, a call or email to your job, or both. If all or part of your income comes from non-traditional sources you should be prepared to provide documentation to back it up.
When you arrive prepared, it gives a positive impression to a potential landlord or agent. Knowing what to expect during the rental application process can help you preemptively minimize any negative pings on credit or background screenings.