Last Updated on December 13, 2021 by Kelvin Nielsen
In a tight rental market where availability of rentals is scarce, getting approved for your dream apartment may be anything but easy. Landlords will go to great lengths to ensure that they only rent to their dream tenants.
If you’ve been scouring rental listings and filling out rental applications without any luck, it’s time to change tact. Landlords screen tenants in order to ensure they land those who meet their qualifying criteria. Generally, this means a tenant who is respectful, will pay rent on time, and will care for their unit.
The following are 8 signs why you didn’t get the apartment.
Sign #1: You weren’t fast enough.
Sure, looking at as many available apartments as possible may be smart as you’ll get to choose the best one. That said, this strategy can be time consuming on your end. In a competitive rental space, a unit may only be vacant for a couple of hours.
So, in such a market, you should be able to submit your rental application as fast as possible. Furthermore, you’ll also want to be ready to pay your move-in fees. That is, the first month’s rent, as well as the security deposit.
Sign #2: You weren’t acting professionally.
Your landlord is running a business and they are probably treating it as such. So, when searching for an apartment, it’ll be in your best interest to act professionally in all your interactions with the potential landlord.
Most landlords will want to know a thing or two about prospective tenants the moment contact is established. This can be through a phone call, email or an appointment. During these interactions, a potential landlord may want to inquire information about:
- Why you are moving out from your current residence.
- When you would like to move in.
- What date you would like to move in.
- Whether you have pets.
- Whether you smoke.
- How long you have lived in your current home.
- How many people you’ll be living with.
This is the pre-screening stage. During this stage, it’s important that you act courteous, professional and answer all questions well. Being rude, sloppy, or being hesitant when asked a question can give a potential landlord the impression that you simply don’t fit the bill.
Sign #3: You failed to follow directions.
This is another sign you didn’t get the apartment. Did the rental ad tell you to call for an appointment, but you instead knocked on a tenant’s door? Did the potential landlord ask you for a copy of your driver’s license but you failed to provide one?
By failing to follow such simple instructions, your landlord will have a reason to think that you won’t follow the lease rules, as well. And this is enough reason for your landlord to legally turn down your rental application.
Sign #4: You provided false information on your application form.
This is another sign you didn’t get the apartment. Lying to your landlord about references, income, or criminal background will result in rejection of your application. The following are common lies.
- Providing fake references.
- Fabricating paystubs.
- Engaging in outright fraud.
Unbeknown to many prospective tenants, lying on a rental application has legal repercussions. If you were ‘lucky’ and had signed the lease, you may be subject to an eviction.
So, rather than lying on your rental application, be upfront to your potential landlord instead. This will save them valuable time in processing an application that will get denied. If they see you are frank about your situation, they may even allow you to have a cosigner.
Sign #5: You have a poor credit rating.
Landlords will only want to rent to tenants who have proven they are financially responsible. As such, checking prospective tenant’s credit rating is a fundamental process in any tenant screening process.
Basically, your credit score is a ratio of your debt and income. Generally, the fewer debts you have, the higher the credit score you’ll have and vice versa. A bad credit score will simply tell your landlord that you don’t pay down your debts.
If you have a poor credit score, take steps to improve it. Pay bills on time, use a secured credit card, and become an authorized user. And if there are errors, don’t ignore them, dispute them.
Sign #6: You don’t earn as much.
It’s important that you only consider apartments that you can afford. Generally speaking, make sure that you make at least 3X the monthly rental amount. So, if you’re considering a unit priced at $1,400, make sure that you earn at least $4,200 in monthly income.
The last thing a potential landlord wants is to rent to a tenant that won’t be able to afford the price of rent.
Sign #7: You own a furry friend.
Sure, America is a nation of pet lovers. Matter of fact, about 85 million families or 67% of U.S. households own a pet. This is at least according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
And yet, majority of landlords don’t allow pets into their rental property. So, if you have a pet and the landlord has a “no pets” policy, your rental application will get rejected. The only exception to this is if Max is a service dog. That’s because disability is a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.
Sign #8: Your car was in a mess.
Landlords want to rent to tenants who can take care of their rental premises, among other things. And if your car is messy, chances are that you’ll be a messy tenant as well.
So, if your car is full of toys, fast food containers or clothes, chances are that that may the reason why you didn’t get the apartment. Remember the first point about being professional? Well, ensuring your car is clean before heading off to see a potential landlord is also part of it.
As much as landlords want to fill their vacancies quickly, they are also wary of renting to problem tenants. As such, make sure you present yourself in the best possible way to up your chances of getting accepted.
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.