The properties we manage are in different parts of town and owned by different people. The criteria for tenant selection varies with the owner and the property.
Most owners will accept a tenant with good credit, good rental history and a good job, but most applications do not have all three. We try to work out something that the owner will accept and put you in the property you want.
INCOME: Most landlords are looking for gross monthly income that is at least three times rent and preferably four times rent. A check stub with year-to-date totals is a quick way to establish your income. If you have recently changed jobs, or if it is early in the year, W-2's or 1099's from the prior year will show what you made. If you don't have those, federal tax returns may work.
Self-employed people may be asked for income tax returns. People counting on money in the bank or other reserves may be asked for bank statements or other paperwork. Same thing for child support.
Most landlords do not count second jobs as reliable income. The same goes for child support unless you have proof that it has been consistently received for more than 12 months.
Landlords hope you have been on the same job, or in the same field, for at least a year; the longer the better. Anything showing stability of income is a plus.
CREDIT: We check your credit with the Experian credit database. If it is clean, gaps in income and rental history can be overcome.
If there are problems with your credit, or if you pay with cash, landlords will look to other areas to satisfy themselves you can and will pay the rent.
RENTAL HISTORY: Two years or more of good rental history can overcome bad credit or a job change.
We want to verify rental history with an independent third party. An apartment house or a rental agency usually works. Family or friends don't.
We will be asking if you (a) paid on time and paid late fees if late (b) took care of the property (c) violated any provision of the lease (d) gave proper notice to terminate.
If you have been renting from an individual, we usually want something more than a phone conversation. We are going to check whether the person whose name you give us owns the property and if not what is their connection to the owner.
It helps if you have a copy of your lease, cancelled checks to show rent payments or some other backup. Utility bills in your name would help establish the case. The Experian credit report will show the addresses you have used when applying for credit in recent years.