4 Common Mistakes When Completing a Rental Lease Application

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A one page rental lease application doesn’t seem like a big deal, but making a mistake on the application can cost you an apartment.  Don’t ignore these 4 common mistakes when completing yours:

1 – Giving Too Much Information

It’s understandable that the landlord wants to do a thorough background check on you, and obtain as much personal information as possible to make a decision on whether you’re a right fit for the apartment. They can cross a line though. Some rental lease applications ask for your bank account numbers and balance amounts. That’s too much information and you shouldn’t provide it to anyone.

If it’s a deal breaker, find other places to rent with more reasonable applications, unless you really don’t have any other option.

2 – Applying for Too Much Apartment

If a property management company or real estate agency reviews the rental lease application you submit, they’ll determine whether you can afford the apartment using the same criteria they use in the mortgage industry. When the rent amount is higher than a certain percent of your income, anywhere from 33 to 40 percent, they may deny your application for failure to meet minimum income requirements.

Once they deny you for one apartment, you may not have an opportunity to apply for another one at the same place for some time, or you’ll have to pay a fee to submit a new application.

3 – Not Enough Explanations

The landlord will use the fee they collect with your rental lease application to do a criminal background check and run your credit report. They’re going to see a lot of your history, and make judgments about your ability to pay rent and be a good tenant. If they find something in your criminal or credit history that’s suspect, they may deny your application for rent.

You should clear up any potential issues by providing detailed explanations on your rental lease applications. Write a letter on a separate sheet of paper, that you can submit with any application. In the space provided on the  application, simply write “See Attached” and staple the letter to it. When you don’t anticipate these issues and address them head on, the landlord can draw the wrong conclusions, or think you’re trying to hide something.

4 – Incorrect Social Security Number

Providing an incorrect social security number is a minor mistake that can delay processing your application. It’s a common mistake that many tenants make when completing a rental lease application, but you can avoid it easily. Write down the number and take it with you, if you plan to fill out the application at the management office. You can also carry your social security card with you, while searching for apartments, so that you can fill an application on the spot without errors.

Be open to answer questions about your rental history when the landlord reviews your rental lease application. Stand your ground if they request too much personal information, to protect yourself from identity theft.

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