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About 44 million households in the USA are renters. This may be because renting a home in the USA is 37% cheaper than buying one.

Today, many first-time home buyers may be tempted to rent an apartment rather than buy one as it’s better for their budgets. This is especially apparent when looking at the fact that there may be nearly 9 million units of rental houses by the end of 2024 in the Midwest.

If you’re a first-time renter, you may have many questions about the renting process, such as “What documents are needed for renting an apartment?” or “Where can I find a good rental apartment?”. When it comes to documents, there are several important documents that you will need to present to a landlord.

The landlord will need these documents to get an idea of your eligibility as a tenant. So, this blog post will go into detail about what documents are needed for renting an apartment to make the renting process easier for you.

1. Pay Stubs

Pay stubs are documents that prove that you have a consistent income. Landlords want this document to see if you have an income that will enable you to pay your rent without delay.

To get pay stubs, you will need to speak to your employer. In most cases, your company will provide you with electronic pay stubs which will be sent to you through email or the employee portal, if your company has one.

If you’re being paid in cash, check with your company if they can give you a written record of your payments. When you receive the pay stubs, make sure to check your gross income, net income, and the frequency of payments—all these bits of information must be mentioned in the pay stubs.

Also, try to present at least two pay stubs to the landlord to prove that you have a regular and stable income.

2. Bank Statements

If you’re self-employed or you don’t have a stable source of income, you can present a bank statement instead of pay stubs. All you need to do is download the statement from your bank’s online banking platform, save it as a PDF, and give it to your landlord.

The process of getting bank statements may be different depending on the bank you’re using so make sure to check with them about how you can get your statement.

3. Open Letter

If you’re employed, you will need to ask your employer to give you an open letter that proves your position in the company and your salary. Make sure that the letter has the company’s logo and the start date of your employment.

4. Identification

The landlord will need a way to verify your identity so you will need to give them a copy of your driver’s license or passport. Your ID must not be expired and the photo on your ID must be visible, highlighting your unique facial features.

5. Renter’s Insurance

Some landlords may require you to have renter’s insurance. If you don’t have this insurance, it’s a good idea to apply for it as it can protect your property from damage during your time in the rental apartment and it will also save you from liability if anyone gets injured on your property.

Get in touch with your insurance provider to get yourself a renter’s insurance policy. Ensure the policy has enough coverage to encompass all your belongings and liabilities and make sure that the policy covers the lease term.

6. Social Security Number

Similar to your ID, landlords may request your Social Security Number to verify your identity. If you’re already a US citizen or if you’re legally employed in the country, you should have already received your Social Security Number.

7. Landlord References

If you have previously rented, you should consider getting a letter of reference from your previous landlord. The letter will confirm that you are a good tenant and that you always pay your rent on time.

Just make sure that the letter is from a very recent landlord so that it’s relevant. If you haven’t rented a home before, you may present a reference letter from someone you know, such as a personal acquaintance or a work colleague.

8. Guarantor’s Paperwork

If you’re going to have a guarantor to pay your rent for you, you will need to give the landlord their details. The guarantor should provide their pay stubs, bank statements, and any other relevant document that proves their financial stability.

9. Credit Reports

A good credit history is very important. It’s one way that landlords can check your financial stability. You can easily obtain an annual credit report by contacting the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Ideally, your credit score should be above 700 to prove yourself to landlords. However, different landlords may set different minimums for credit scores when vetting new tenants.

Also, if you have any outstanding debts or late payments, try to have them settled as soon as possible before presenting the credit report to the landlord.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions that we receive from our tenants:

1. What can I do if I’m a foreign national without a Social Security Number?

In this case, some landlords may accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. You will need to confirm this with the landlord.

2. Can I include my student ID for ID verification?

Your student ID may not be enough to verify your identity, but you can submit it with the rest of the documents.

3. What should I do if I have negative credit items on the credit report?

If there are any negative remarks in your credit report, you could try giving the landlord a brief explanation. Note that some landlords may not accept a credit report if it has any negative remarks.

What documents are needed for renting an apartment? Now you know

Renting an apartment for the first time can be a tough endeavor. But once you know what documents are needed for renting an apartment, you should have a much easier time getting things in place and moving into a wonderful apartment!

Haven’t found a good apartment to rent? Then speak with us to explore affordable apartments for rent and get in touch with our property manager today!