8 Helpful Tips to Make Your Rental Application Stand Out

tips for rental application

Do you have your eye on a charming apartment in Norfolk, Suffolk, or elsewhere in Virginia? The truth is, so do hundreds of other interested renters. The competition is tight, so you have to do something to stand out from the crowd and be the chosen one to sign the lease.

Having a rental application that’s carefully put together and showing up for the interview fully prepared can make you come out victorious in getting your hands on the keys to your dream place.

In this post, we are going over 8 helpful tips to make your rental application stand out. 

What is a Rental Application? 

Landlords and property managers require interested tenants to submit documents to evaluate if they’re a good fit.

You should fill out the rental application form and submit all the other required documents along with it. The documents will assess your credit score, references, rental history, financial capability, and employment, among others.

Rental Application Checklist 

As a potential renter, you must meticulously prepare your rental application to make it stand out among other interested tenants. 

Since you’re not the only one who is interested in the rental space, you have to come prepared. 

Ensure you can tick all the following boxes before submitting your rental application:

  • Identification documents – bring all your government-issued IDs, passport, driver’s license, and your social security card
  • Bank statements – provide updated bank records with sufficient balance that shows you have the ability to pay for the monthly rent and other fees for a few months
  • Proof of income – submit your latest tax record
  • Proof of employment – submit a certificate of employment
  • Reference – provide at least 3 references that can vouch for your character and tenancy record
  • Rental application – download a copy and completely fill out the rental application

rental application form

8 Helpful Rental Application Tips

Now that you know what documents to prepare, consider these 8 helpful pieces of advice to have a better shot at securing that dream rental space:

1. Preparation 

Secure all the documents mentioned in the Rental Application Checklist. Preparation is the key so make sure that these documents are properly organized when submitting them to the landlord.

The faster you submit all required documents, the better for everybody who’s involved in the rental application and tenant screening process

2. Cover Letter 

Submit a great cover letter that shows relevant information about yourself. This should outline the reason you’re leaving your current rental space and why you would like to move to their property.

Your letter should allow them to see how sincere you are, so make sure that you draft a good one. Market yourself in a simple, but straightforward way. 

The cover letter can help you have a striking rental application.

typing on a laptop

3. Proof of Income

Ensure the landlord knows that you can pay rent. 

It’s crucial that you give the landlord the guarantee that you can pay on time, every time. Before drafting up that cover letter and submitting your application, gauge if you can afford to pay the monthly rent and other fees.

Present your bank statement that shows the updated balance. It should have an adequate amount to cover the rent for a few months.

4. References 

Since landlords and property managers would like a high-quality tenant, they will likely ask for references. They would want to know how you are as a tenant and consider your references’ answer when making the decision. 

The best reference in this case is your previous landlords. They are the best people to speak about your tenancy record. If it is your first time renting, you can submit your employer as a references.

5. Financial Guarantor 

If you aren’t that confident with your credit report or other financial documents, you have the option to present a financial guarantor.

Some landlords accept this as they are assured that they can collect the rent payments. 

Sometimes, early credit records won’t be able to show the landlord what they’re looking for so you can go with this option. But this will be subject to the landlord’s approval.


6. Be Honest

Put relevant information about yourself in the rental application and do not hide certain information. This could affect your chances of being the landlord’s next tenant. 

Landlords conduct a verification process that brings things into light. Be honest and provide explanations and action plans, when applicable. Offer solutions or ask for other options that would help fill what’s lacking in your application.

7. Social Media 

Some landlords are getting creative and may dig into your social media. Be mindful of the information you put out in the open and update your privacy settings.

8. First Impression 

You will never have a second shot at making the first impression. So, when meeting the landlord for the first time, be the best version of yourself. 

Be on time, be courteous and make sure to dress presentably. 

How you present yourself is still part of the rental application. Communicate clearly and professionally. Ask questions and inquire on the property’s availability. This is also the best time to ask if additional documents, such as renter’s insurance, are required. 

Additionally, you can inquire about the type of tenant they are looking for or ask for possible reasons your application might be rejected.

landlord-tenant handshake

Bottom Line

If you have your eye set on a rental property, you want to stand out from the pool of applicants.

To do so, you want to be prepared, have a solid cover letter and a great reference, present proof of income, and leave a good impression in person and on social media.

When applying for a rental, know your rights based on the Fair Housing Act.

If you are looking for a home in Virginia, contact us at Limehouse Property Management today!