How to Write a Winning Rental Application

In today’s tight rental housing market, odds are that there will be intense competition for the property you want to rent. Realtors and landlords seldom take a first-come, first-served approach anymore. Instead, they carefully screen applicants personally. The savvy renter can get a literal foot in the door with the right rental application. Here is a simple four-point checklist you can follow when submitting your rental application. This checklist will give you the best chance of landing the rental home of your dreams.

Write a Winning Rental Application

1. Personal ID and Documents

Every formal rental application procedure will involve a series of checks based on your identity. Some of the most common ones are:

    • Background check – basic criminal history search, usually only for serious offenses.
    • Credit score – this is a good indicator if someone can be trusted to make rent payments on time.
    • Rental blacklist – a database where former landlords can name problematic tenants

The right ID will ensure that you are not confused with others who have similar names.

2. Employment History

Like your credit score, employment history gives your potential landlord a good gauge of whether you are likely to meet your rent obligations. Include a list of your recent jobs going back several years as well as the positions you held.

There is no need to divulge your exact salary but you should mention an income bracket. If there are periods of unemployment, give the reasons why, for example, maternity leave or further studies. Add a list of references at your current and former workplaces. Remember inform those people that they may be contacted during your rental application.

3. Tenancy History

Most landlords would want to know why you are moving homes. In most cases where it is because of a new job, the need for more space, etc., this is pretty straightforward. On the other hand, people also move when there are problems with their landlords. If that is the case, be upfront.

During your rental application, most homeowners understand that conflicts can arise. They may enquire about the issues to get a better assessment of you but problems with a former landlord are rarely a red flag. If you were prompt with rent, did not cause any deliberate damage, and were reasonable with repairs and inspections, most landlords will overlook minor conflicts.

4. Cover Letter

A cover letter is not an essential part of the rental application. Because of that, including one could help yours stand out. You could also mention briefly why the property appeals to you and why you would be a good fit. It is an opportunity for you to make a personal introduction. Remember to touch on why you are moving and make a favorable impression before having a face-to-face.

Please visit the Tenants page on our website for more information about making a rental application and our rental process.