How to Fill Out a Rental Application Correctly

how to fill out a lease

First impressions are important, and you want to give a landlord reason to believe you’ll be a good tenant. Before filling out a rental application, have information about your income, employment and previous landlords handy so that you can fill out the application accurately and completely. Never provide inaccurate information on a rental application. If the landlord discovers an inaccuracy during the application process, you’ll probably be turned down.

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View the Application before a Showing

Visit the landlord’s or property management company’s website before going to view a rental home. Many landlords and property managers include information about the application process on their sites and may even provide an online or downloadable application. If you know what’s on the application, you can bring the information you need to your showing appointment and apply for your new home right away.

Review the Application Carefully

Don’t fill out the application without reading it first. Review each section carefully, making notes on the requested information. While application questions vary by landlord, expect questions about your identity, income, employment and past rental history. The application may also ask you to list personal references and to provide the name and phone number of an emergency contact. If you are confused about an application question, ask the

landlord for clarification.

Prepare Your Information and References

After reviewing the application, gather all the information that you’ll need to complete it, such as pay stubs, your Social Security number, tax returns, and contact information for references and former landlords. Check to see if the application asks you to attach copies of your financial and employment documents. While some landlords verify your information through a tenant screening service or by calling your bank and workplace directly, others want you to provide the documentation. Contact your references to verify their information and to get permission to list them on the application.

Address Any Gaps in Information

If you can’t answer to an application question, offer an explanation instead of leaving a blank space. For example, if you can’t supply information about previous landlords because you’ve never rented before, write down that this is your first rental. If necessary, include your explanations on a separate sheet of paper.

Proofread the Application

Typos, illegible handwriting and spelling errors will frustrate the person who reviews your application and make you look careless. Proofread the application and ask a friend or family member to do the same. If you're supplying additional documents, make sure that they are clear, readable and that you’ve attached them securely to the application.


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