The daunting process of finding an apartment to move into is overwhelming and challenging, for sure. When you do finally go through all the proper steps to find the perfect new apartment that will suit your needs best, you need to now get started on all of the paperwork and other legal matters involved with closing a deal and signing a rental agreement or contract.
As you are preparing for your move, be sure to allow a lot of time for yourself to get everything you need in order to seamlessly transition into your new apartment. You will need to show some specific documents, and will more than likely need to provide some sort of proof that you are financially stable enough to rent an apartment.
Follow this guide in order to find out what documents and other important items you will need in order to rent out an apartment, and learn about some great tips that will help you to be more prepared for the process of moving into a new apartment.
Essential Documents You Will Need Before Renting An Apartment
Read on to see a comprehensive list of all the important documents you will need to show the apartment manager or landlord before signing the rental agreement.
- Photo I.D. For the most part, a standard Driver’s License will be sufficient enough for a photo identification card. If you don’t drive or do not have a driver’s license for any reason, you will need to supply a government-issued photo I.D., such as a nondriver's photo identification card. You might also need to provide your social security card and a copy of your birth certificate.
- Recent bank statement. Since renting out an apartment is a significant financial commitment, the apartment manager or landlord will want sufficient evidence that you are financially secure and able to make your rent payments regularly and on time. One way they may seek proof of financial stability is by asking for recent bank statements. Usually, only the last two or three months’ worth of bank statements will be necessary to be seen and reviewed.
- Pay Stub, if applicable. If you are employed at a regular job and will not have to leave it due to a move then you should have your most recent pay stub ready to show as further proof of your financial stability and reliability. If you will become unemployed for the move but have enough savings to cover your expenses until the next job opportunity, or if you work as a freelance or independent contractor, you will just need to show your latest bank statements as proof that you are financially secure.
- Proof of employment, if applicable. If you are employed at a regular job, you may need to produce a letter from your place of employment that is signed by your manager or supervisor. The letter should state your current rate of pay as well as how long you have been employed at that job.
- Previous apartment rental history. If this is your first time renting an apartment, this will not be something you need to worry about. However, if you have rented before, you will probably need to pass on the contact information of your previous landlord so that they may provide a recommendation for you to the new apartment manager.
- Tax returns. While you will probably only need to provide your most recent tax return form, have the previous two years’ forms at the ready, just in case.
If you are a student, it will be important to have a copy of your most recent transcript and a school-issued photo I.D. card to show to the apartment manager or landlord. This will provide sufficient proof that you are in fact a current student at that particular school.
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Checking Your Credit Score
Most apartment managers will want to check your credit score, as yet one more way to make sure you will be able to pay your rent on time. They may ask for a voided check, or they may ask for your credit card. If they ask for your credit card, they may check your score right there in the office, saving you some of the trouble. Otherwise, check a website like creditkarma.com to obtain a free report of your credit score.
Be sure to check your credit score before you start the apartment hunting process just to make sure everything is in place and nothing seems inaccurate.
If you are co-signing a lease agreement with someone else who has excellent credit than there will probably be no need for you to provide your credit score.
Security Deposit and the First Month’s Rent
If you were hoping to move into an apartment immediately and spend the next first month scrounging up the money needed to continue living there, you will be in trouble. In addition to needing to write a check for the first month’s rent as soon as you move in, chances are high that you will more than likely need to supply a security deposit as well. Security deposits very rarely come cheap, so be prepared to have quite a bit of money drain out of your account before you even finish moving into your new apartment. The good news is that, as long as you remain a responsible tenant and keep your apartment relatively clean and undamaged, you will get your security deposit back when you decide to move out.
As a general rule of thumb, the security deposit is often the exact same amount as your rent total. So, on the day you sign the rental lease papers, if your first month’s rent is $1,200, your security deposit will also be $1,200. This means you will need to have at least $2,400 ready to spend, either in cash or in your bank account that a check will be able to withdraw from.
While the moving process is tedious, following this guide will help you gain some control during this chaotic time.