Find out why, but understand that that the apartment complex doesn't have to furnish you with a specific reason.
You've done the math. You can afford the rent and related expenses. So, you fill out the apartment complex rental application and start packing. But, then you're informed that your application has been denied. Now what?
There are several recourses. More importantly, though, is finding out what caused the application to be denied. You'll want to fix that problem if you can. Here's what you need to know.
Check your creditworthiness first
It's a common—and lawful—practice for landlords to check your credit as well as criminal history. They may inform you of this background check, but they're not required. Some apartment complexes charge a nonrefundable rental application fee. You risk losing this if you're not aware of negative information on your credit report.
- Review your credit report before you apply. Fix any errors you find. This is often not a fast process, so be sure to give yourself enough time to review and get corrections done to your credit report prior to applying for a new rental lease.
- Do you have a criminal history? Even if it's a misdemeanor, make sure you have the appropriate documentation showing that the action was resolved.
- Have you had prior problems with a rental lease? This absolutely must be resolved before you submit an application. Landlords don't want to repeat a prior experience. You're going to need to be prepared to demonstrate why this can't or won't happen again.
Can you really afford it?
A landlord or apartment complex can deduce predictable behavior from your credit score. They might look at your debt-to-income ratio as well as any outstanding bills. A history of delinquent bill payments is an indication you might be late with your rent—or even fail to pay it altogether.
Your debt-to-income ratio may also indicate to a landlord that you simply don't make enough money. It's generally accepted that your rent will be too expensive if it's more than 30% of your net salary.
Understanding the reason
If your lease application is denied because of something on your credit report, the landlord or apartment complex is obligated to provide you with the name and contact information for the credit reporting agency that provided them with the information.
It's important to know that they do not have to tell you which piece of information disqualified your application. Most will just tell you that certain information in your credit report was the reason your application did not get approved.
Do you really want that apartment?
You might still have a chance – if you are able to determine that the lease wasn't approved because of either poor credit or your income. Ask the apartment complex or landlord if they will allow a lease cosigner.
It's also known as a guarantor. This person agrees to assume your monetary obligations to the apartment complex. The guarantor becomes bound by the same terms of the lease agreement as you have. It goes beyond just the rent. They also would be responsible to pay for physical damages to the apartment, as well as any fines for not abiding by the rules of the rental agreement.
An apartment complex may offer you this option if your application isn't approved. It's their choice, and they're certainly not obligated. Keep in mind, though, that you probably won't snag that apartment even with a guarantor if there's another applicant wanting to rent it who's got better qualifications than you.