Getting to Know the Rental Process — Cross Those T’s and Dot Those I’s

Learning about the rental process can help you protect your rights

First-time renters or those renewing a lease are always apprehensive about the process. With laws governing property constantly changing and the uncertainty surrounding employment or income, it becomes hard to guarantee whether you’ll get approved for a lease.

So, understanding the rental process and how to prepare for it can make all the difference when you apply to rent an apartment.

The Average Cost of Renting in the US

The average cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment rose by more than 21% in 2021. In Manhattan, you could be paying between $1100 and $9000 in rent per month for a 2 bedroom apartment. Of course, this price scale depends on where the unit is located and the square footage but if you’re looking for something more affordable, it might be hard to come by.

Coupled with the rising costs, the competition is high! More renters of all ages and backgrounds are vying for apartments to rent in popular cities. Florida and California share the highest competition making it quite a challenge to get approved for a place to rent.

The secret to rental application approvals is that many property managers and landlords already have an idea of who they are looking to approve as a tenant. Those applications that come in with updated documentation, have passed a background check, and have their credit in order are most likely to make the top of the list for consideration. To help you make the right impression, it is important to understand the rental application process and how to get approved for an apartment.

What is the Rental Process?

Rental applications and approvals will differ depending on the requirements of the landlord but it generally involves the following steps:

The apartment application

You’ll find the application for the apartment to rent online. If you are looking for a rental through an estate agent they might give you a print version of the application form to complete. You can also find applications at the office of the landlord if a company offering multiple units to lease.

To improve the success of your application, consider the following:

Complete all the required information on your application form.

Provide personal information such as your drivers, social security, current address, employment, and monthly income.

Read the application carefully as some landlords or managers require tax related and confidential information as part of a background check.

If you have outstanding debts or a debt that’s affected your credit score, attach a cover letter explaining to the landlord the reason for this. Prepare them for the information they will find when they screen your application and background.

Criminal records will also appear in a background check; however, landlords aren’t meant to discredit your application based on your history. It is up to you whether you wish to disclose this information or leave it to be revealed in the background check.

If you are asked to pay an application fee, don’t be concerned. For most rentals the application fee is standard process and will cover the cost for the credit and the background check.

Dotting Your I’s and Crossing Your T’s

For any rental application to be considered, answer the questions in your application to the best of your ability. When you’re called for an interview, be honest, courteous, and professional. Dress the part and show interest in the reasons for renting the apartment. Ultimately, landlords want to know that you’ll be an honest and a reliable tenant so give them more reasons to want you as a tenant rather than more your application to the bottom of the pile.




Inspired by interior decorating and affordable housing, I love to share my views on apartment living. Content creator and supporter of the underdog.

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Inspired by interior decorating and affordable housing, I love to share my views on apartment living. Content creator and supporter of the underdog.

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