Finding the perfect place to rent can be a difficult task, especially in popular cities and towns. When competition is high, landlords can afford to be picky, and even the smallest blemish on your rental application can mean the difference between being rejected or accepted. Fortunately, you can swing the odds in your favor. Check out these nine common reasons why your rental application may have been denied.
1. You’re not earning enough
When landlords select a new tenant, they often use a screening process to reduce the list of applicants. One of the most influential factors is whether tenants will be able to comfortably pay their rent and afford their other costs of living. A general rule of thumb is that a tenant should earn at least three times more gross (pre-tax) income than the rental fee. If you don’t earn enough, there’s a good chance your application will be denied.
2. You have pets
Despite the fact that the majority of renters have or want pets, most landlords don’t want them in their properties. Their mindset is that even the most well-behaved pets will shed, make messes and/or cause cosmetic damage that can interfere with the landlord’s ability to attract tenants in the future. Poorly trained pets can also be downright destructive, causing major damage to furniture, appliances, walls, and carpets. If you do have a pet, most landlords will reject your application. Instead, seek pet-friendly rentals only.
3. You have poor credit
Landlords rent out their properties as a business venture; when they choose a tenant, they’re essentially going into business with them. As such, it’s only natural that they demand their tenants have good credit. They don’t want to do business with someone who has a history of issues with repayments or defaulting on bills. Low credit scores are also a red flag; so, before you start applying for places to rent, be sure to do all you can to improve your credit.
4. You lied on your application
In this day and age, it’s quick and easy to fact check. Whatever you do, don’t lie on your rental application; you’re likely to be discovered. Once a landlord sees that you’ve tried to hoodwink them, the chances of them accepting your application plummet. Be honest and open, and address any concerns they have outright – such as a criminal record or gaps in your rental history. By mentioning these things at the beginning, you’ll appear far more genuine, and landlords may be willing to be flexible.
5. Your references don’t add up
Most rental applications require you to provide references, and most landlords will contact them. So, if you left on bad terms with one of your references – for example, you missed payments or caused damage to the property – they’re unlikely to recommend you. Don’t try to fake a reference, either. Landlords often double-check names and numbers, and if you’re caught, there’s no way your application will be accepted.
6. You’ve been evicted in the past
There are no two ways about it: previous evictions don’t look good on your application. However, if you are in this situation, consider attaching a letter that explains the circumstances. There are many reasons for evictions, some of which are beyond your control, such as health-related issues, the loss of a job, or hard-hitting personal problems. Landlords can be flexible when you are willing to give a little context.
7. You tried to fit too many people in one place
Many properties have rules dictating how many people are allowed to live there. For instance, if your application for a one-bedroom home mentions that you have three children, it’s likely that your application may be denied. Often, landlords are bound by law not to allow too many people to occupy their properties, so seek out properties that are large enough for your family or roommates.
8. You were too slow
In a hot market, great apartments are usually snatched up pretty quickly. Many renters will build up a list of potential rentals before narrowing it down to their favorites and applying to those. But, in the time they take to arrive at this shortlist, most of the properties have already been occupied. When you see a place you like, apply right away!
9. You weren’t professional enough
Remember that, for a landlord, this is a business venture and you are, essentially, one of many candidates. If you turn up late to a meeting, make a mess, are impolite or don’t follow instructions, they might be inclined to find someone else. Treat any meeting with a potential landlord like you would a job interview.