What Do You Need To Rent an Apartment?

Once you have settled on an apartment, your landlord will require documentation as evidence of your ability to pay rent and identity. Read along to find out what you need to rent an apartment in your area.

What To Consider When Choosing

Choosing an apartment is crucial because it determines the quality of your life in and away from home. The quote, “the magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave and even better to come back,” perfectly captures the importance of finding a suitable living space. 

So, to rent an apartment, what do you need to have? From costs, amenities, and environment, here is a list of 4 things for you to consider: 

Type of apartment 

What sort of apartment do you seek? Studio apartments? Loft apartments or convertible apartments? What amenities would you want to come with the apartment? Parking spot? Washer? Where is the nearest laundromat if the landlord doesn’t offer laundry services? Consider and ask these questions whenever you attend a showing. 

Neighborhood or environment 

First, consider if you prefer urban, suburban, rural, or subdivision neighborhoods, depending on your budget. What is the safety level of the area? What is the level of activity or noise? Consider all these factors. 


As you look through different apartments, you may ask questions about the lease term, costs for terminating the agreement before the term lapses, or your right to sublet if you decide to travel. Ensure you have a thorough understanding of the implications of the provisions in the agreement. 

Property management

Consider the pros and cons of renting under a property management company or directly under a landlord. In most cases, property management companies do a better job in maintaining rental amenities and the conditions of a unit than a landlord. Further, property managers are more professional in their approach. They have a robust understanding of the law, meaning they will do their part to ensure that the premise is safe for occupation. As part of your research, consider finding reviews and comments left by previous tenants on the management of the properties you are thinking of renting. 

Things you Need To Rent an Apartment

What do you need to qualify to rent an apartment? Two main things are a stable income and a good credit score. A landlord or property manager is looking to make a good business decision by having you on board as a tenant. The number one thing they’ll consider is your ability to keep up with rent payments. 

Figure out how much rent you can afford

Of the things you need to rent an apartment, the key among them is financial stability. Consider, how much are you comfortable spending on rent? Compare the cost of your previous apartments, and the price of apartments Landlords or property managers are quoting in your search. If you find a particular place’s rent is higher than expected, always ask for an explanation. Asking questions as you go along in your search will help you make an informed decision and settle on a place whose rent matches the amenities, environment, or property rates of the area. 

Find out your credit score

Regarding your credit score, what do you need to qualify to rent an apartment? A new landlord will want to see your credit score to ensure that you are responsible financially and can keep up with your rent payments. A credit score is a number between 300 to 850 that depicts your creditworthiness. Reporting companies base scores on your credit history with banks, auto loan issues, credit card issuers, and insurance companies. The credit score your landlord will approve depends on the local rental market. 

What Documents Do You Need To Rent an Apartment?

On documentation, to rent an apartment what do you need? Once you find the perfect apartment that suits your tastes and needs, it’s time to persuade the landlord that you are a suitable tenant. The landlord’s main interest is to work with someone who will constantly meet their rent obligations. It is essential to gather the following documents needed to rent an apartment and present them to your landlord to help with their review process.

Bank statements 

A property manager may ask you to provide a bank statement or any other document showing proof of income. The landlord wants to ascertain that you have sufficient resources to cover monthly rent even if your income fluctuates. 

Paystubs, W2s, or income statements

Your bank statements show your ability to pay rent if you face income disruptions. Paystubs, W2s, or income reports show how much you are earning. Most landlords prefer tenants whose monthly employment income is at least three times the monthly rate. 

Rental history

One of the main things you need to rent an apartment is proof of good character. While your bank statements show your financial capacity, your rental history helps demonstrate your ability to respect the landlords’ property and peacefully co-exist in a community. Though your credit report may provide insights into your rental history, the landlord may ask you to submit a list of addresses and contact information of previous landlords. 

Why Do Renters Need Bank Statements & Other Documents?

Income requirements for renting an apartment are the most important eligibility criteria. Renters provide proof of income documents so their prospective landlords can determine their financial capacity to keep up with rent payments. 

Closing Thoughts

If you happen to be asking yourself, what do you need to get an apartment? Remember, landlords require you to demonstrate you can pay rent and are of good character as a tenant. You will also need to provide proof of income and identity documentation. Lastly, while it is good to maintain an above-average credit score, landlords may only consider if you have a significant debt load. A huge debt load will likely undermine your ability to pay rent, not your overall score.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get asked concerning things you need to rent an apartment. Consider putting together the required paperwork even before you begin your search. 

What credit score do you need to rent an apartment?

What do you need to get an apartment, as far as your credit score is concerned? There is no specific credit score for renting an apartment. Some landlords may even overlook a low credit score if they think you are trustworthy and can meet your rent obligations. Most will only consider if you have a considerable debt load, undermining your ability to pay the rent and not necessarily your overall score. Other landlords determine an appropriate credit score depending on the property rates of a specific area. But even then, remember that, according to FICO®, your credit score is fair if it is between 580 – 669.

How do you rent your first apartment?

Some of the things you need to rent an apartment and move out of your parents’ home or transition from college dorm life are proof of income and rental history documentation. 

First, determine how much you can afford in terms of monthly rent. Next, establish your credit score because it is what a landlord uses to predict your ability to pay rent regularly. 

Find a reputable apartment listing, reach out to landlords, and schedule viewings. Once you find something you like, it’s time to apply. The landlord will have you fill out personal information and provide proof of income and rental history documents. The landlord will take time to determine that you will be a good tenant with the capacity to make regular rent payments. 

If you meet the eligibility requirements, the landlord will inform you and ask that you make a security deposit. After you deposit the required amount, the landlord will give you a rent agreement form to sign. Take special notice of the rent schedule section of the lease, which shows the rental amount and the lease term, for example, whether it is a month-to-month lease, a fixed-term lease, or any other arrangement. In short, before signing, ensure you understand the implications of all the provisions of the lease. 

Where can I look for an apartment?

The best way to begin your search for an apartment is online. Consider using Google to find reputable websites with quality listings. You can also use rental applications, such as Zillow Rentals, Trulia Rentals, and Apartment List, available on iOS and Android.

If you opt to work with a real estate agent, you may be required to pay a broker’s fee of about 15% of the annual rent of the apartment you will choose. 

What documents do I need to rent an apartment for the first time?

When it comes to paperwork, what do you need to get an apartment? To rent an apartment for the first time, you will need to present the following documents with your apartment rental application: 

  • Pay stubs;
  • Bank statements;
  • Identification documents;
  • Personal references; and
  • Proof of vehicle insurance and registration.
Article by Megan Thompson

Megan Thompson is a legal writer at Lawrina. Megan writes about different law practice areas, legal innovations, and shares her knowledge about her legal practice. As a graduate of the American University's Washington College of Law she is an expert of law in Lawrina's team and has a slight editing touch to all content that is published on the website.

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