Will I Get Approved?
Before you start looking for an apartment, you need pre-qualify yourself to make sure your application will have a good chance of being accepted. Here are the major factors that ownership looks for when processing your application:
- Credit - If you do not know your credit score, you should definitely find out before you submit an application. There's no exact minimum score that management looks for, but if your credit score is below 600 you may want to seek credit counseling before attempting to apply. Delinquencies, late payments, and collection accounts will all have a significant affect on your application. Also know that every time you submit an application, you receive an inquiry on your credit report which can lower your score even more. You don't want to have to submit multiple applications, because each time you get denied, you'll have less of a chance on the next one.
- Income - The average income requirement for apartment rentals is that the total household income is equal to or greater than 3 times the monthly rent. For example, if you wanted to rent an apartment that is $1,000/month, your income would have to be at least $3,000/month or $36,000/year. If two roommates wanted to rent a two bedroom apartment that is $1500/month, their combined income would have to be at least $4,500/month or $54,000/year. Keep in mind that every owner has different standards on income as well. Some might require only 2.5 times the rent, while others might require 3.5 times.
- Background - Ownership will check your criminal background for the safety of the current tenants in the building. Any housing court judgments against you will also show up and would also have a major influence on the application.
- Co-Signers - A co-signer is someone (either friend or family) who will co-sign on your application to improve your chance of approval. Some owners do not accept co-signers, and some may only accept co-signers to help with insufficient income, not poor credit. Keep in mind that if an owner accepts a co-signer for income, the co-signer's income requirement is usually higher than the normal three times monthly rent. It can be up to 4-5 times monthly rent because the co-signers have their own bills to pay as well as being liable for the new lease.