DOCUMENTS YOU’LL NEED TO
RENT A HOME
Before you start home hunting, gather the documents listed below early on. Most landlords will ask that all of these items be already collected at time we are making show appt's for their review, and others will only ask for a couple. So being prepared for any situation is your best bet.
PREPARE TO RENT
Fill out an application
This is step one. This will be needed by both apartment complexes and landlords.
Simply click the link to download the application.
Obtain a copy your credit report
With credit being the hub of most transactions these days, it's no surprise that its the first thing Florida landlords and owners ask about prospective tenants. So we will discuss this first. Typically your scores have to be at least a 640 to rent. If it's not, check our credit improvement section. There are exceptions to everything. You could find a sympathetic owner on Craigslist, or rent from family until you hit 640. Or you could just pay half the year upfront. That sometimes works. Either way, many will require you provide a copy of at least one recent credit report. You can get a FREE copy once a year here .
Landlords ask to see your pay stubs to make sure you’re actually employed and make as much money as you say you do (Remember, the landlord’s first concern is whether you’ll pay your rent). If you don’t make enough money, letting you move in is a gamble they can’t afford to make. Landlords typically only accept tenants for whom the rental price is 30% or less of their income.
Most of the time, landlords will ask for your 3 most recent pay stubs. If you have direct deposit, you can likely still find your pay stub online, or ask your boss for a copy. If you do get a physical stub with your paycheck, only provide a copy, not the original.
Generally, you’ll need bank statements and pay stubs. Though they essentially do the same thing they show you have money. Bank statements also show regular paycheck deposits from your job. Print 3 months worth from your online account just to be safe. If you don’t have a computer at home, go to a public library to access your bank account and print these out. Be sure to log out before you leave the library!
Driver’s License (Or Passport)
Make a copy of and bring your driver’s license with you when you tour homes or when you sit down to fill out an application. You will need to provide it as part of the application I turn in. The landlord will make a copy for his or her records. If you don’t have a license, a state ID or passport works too.
A recommendation tells the manager that you were a good tenant in rentals before. A letter from the last landlord will help a great deal if you can get it. Most landlords will accept basic information about your last apartments, such as the property manager’s contact information, so that they can call. But a few managers might ask you to provide letters of recommendation so they don’t have to do the work.
It’s a good idea to get one of these letters before moving from your current rental. A referral letter that you were confident enough to ask for – and received – says a lot to a manager.
Vehicle Registration and Proof of Insurance
Why would a landlord need your vehicle info? If an apartment comes with a parking space, the landlord needs to know which cars belong on the property full time. If a car appears to be abandoned, the manager needs to know which renter owns it. Some buildings / homes have a limited number of parking spaces per unit, so landlords want to make sure only the approved vehicles are in the lot or home.
Social Security Number
Your parents may have warned you not to give out this precious eight-digit identification code, but you do have to provide it to a potential landlord. Property managers use this number to perform a credit check, to see whether or not you’re a good tenant. You shouldn’t have to provide a copy of your social security card, so memorize your number instead.
You will need to provide your rental history. This is a list of all the rentals you’ve lived in during your life as a renter, including their addresses, the phone number of the property manager, how long you were there, how much you paid, and why you left.
If you’ve rented in several locations, it might be a good idea to go ahead and create a file of this information for yourself, so that you can provide it with you when you apply. You can always update it with each move. That way, you can make your application quickly by copying the information, or simply providing a copy of the document with your application, instead of filling out that section.
Most applications have a section for references. You should have a mental list of both professional and personal references, in case the landlord wants both. Just make sure to ask the people you plan to use as references for their permission, since they’ll be receiving a call.
Choose established and responsible adults as your references. These references can come from businesses where you’ve worked, non-profits where you’ve volunteered, even your church. Your 20-year-old college dorm mate isn’t as reliable in the eyes of a landlord as your 40-year-old boss.
A job history is just like a rental history, but with information about where you worked. Include your current job and a few previous ones. Keep this information on hand so you can reference it when you apply for homes.
Many landlords want to see your employment history to determine that you can hold a job. If you leave every three months, your income isn’t stable, and thus isn’t reliable. If, however, you’ve had a job for five or more years, the 12 months you’ll be at this apartment will likely be a financially stable time. If you are recently retired in the last 12 months, you will still need to provide job history information.
Police Background Check
You may need to provide a police background check. This will require you go to your local police department and request one be done on you. They may charge you for it. Why? Many owners renting their homes out don't have the resources, and/or want a snapshot of any criminal history up front.
Finally, bring your checkbook when applying for apartments or out with us house hunting. You may have to pay an application fee (i.e., $100 ) and / or a fee to a condo or homeowners association. ( i.e., $500 ) Not our rules. Once you get out there and start looking you will see for yourself. We simply would rather have you prepared for most situations.
A good example of move-in costs are as follows:
For a $1500 a month rental in a subdivision ( HOA ) or ( Condo Association )
The first month’s rent of $1,500 and last month's rent of $1,500, plus the $100 application fee with the association will be due. The association may require a $500 security deposit, which must be paid by the tenant. You will also be required to pay the landlord’s security deposit of $1,500. So you should have around $5,100 and the documents discussed above to rent a place that costs $1,500 per month.
We will require all documents above and the application above completely filled out, then emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to touring homes. We will then contact you to discuss your options. In this way, we best prepare you to take a home off the market immediately should we find something you like. You will be prepared to WIN before we see the first house.
Do you have a criminal record?
Many websites that tout renting seem to leave this very important part off. Perhaps because it's such a touchy subject. In our opinion, if you have a criminal record it's getting increasingly harder to rent a home. Not impossible though. In short, prepare to disclose everything and have ALL supporting documents.
For more details click HERE.
Do you have a section 8 certificate, voucher, or are homeless?
While our participation is somewhat limited using these methods, we want you to succeed. There are multiple resources that can assist you.