What Information Do You Need To Apply For An Apartment?

what information do i need for an apply for an apartment?

Wondering what information do you need to apply for an apartment? You have come to the right place. This post will detail some of the most common information that you need to successfully apply to an apartment.

In most applications, you are going to be asked for three things: A copy of your current, valid Driver’s License or other government-issued ID, verification of income, and social security number, or a copy of a current, valid Passport and Visa.

Now, those are just the main three information pieces that you will see asked of you the majority of the time. Let’s dive into this in more detail and discuss these and other pieces of information that might be asked of you when applying to an apartment.

Current And Valid ID

At the time of application, you will need a current and valid form of ID to apply for an apartment. In most cases, this can be a driver’s license or a military ID card. If for some reason you do not have either of those, then you will need to find another current and valid government-issued ID.

Something like a social security card or birth certificate could do the trick. It would be best to first reach out to the leasing agent and confirm what are other acceptable forms of ID.

Proof Of Income

You need proof of income.

It is a staple piece of information that you need to apply for an apartment.

You need to show income that is steady and verifiable. Usually, you will be asked to provide proof of income with the option of three different methods.

Method 1 is providing a copy of your two most current and consecutive pay stubs.

The second method is providing a copy of your employment offer letter and note that the letter must explicitly state your income.

Method 3 is to provide a copy of your previous year’s tax returns.

Usually, you can just show proof of your last two direct deposit stubs and be okay. In some cases, the employment offer letter might be requested in conjunction with the pay stubs.

Either way, it is best to have both pieces of information handy before you begin the apartment application process.

Do You Make 2.5 Times The Rent?

One thing to remember is some apartment buildings especially those in bigger cities require that you make a certain amount of money in order to be considered.

For example, an apartment might say that in order to be eligible to apply and complete the application you must have a monthly income that is at least 2.5 times the monthly rent.

Now, odds are if you are here reading this and follow Adulting Starts Here, you are probably between the age of 15 and 30.

So the likelihood that you have a long history of income or a high enough income to solo apply for an apartment is not high, especially for those of us that move to these bigger cities.

What are your other Proof of Income options?

Find a co-signer. This is usually your next best bet if you intend to live alone. The co-signer can be your parent or pretty much anyone that is willing the sponsor you and say they will cover rent costs if you cannot.

If you are willing to have a roommate, bringing another salary into the equation can help you reach that 2.5 times threshold, especially for those of us looking to live with our partners.

Now, that is all I am going to say on the topic of co-signing for an apartment. I might do a post diving into that topic more later.

Social Security Number

At the time of application, you will most likely be asked about the last four of your social security number, if not the whole number itself. This is the information that the leasing agent will most likely use this number to do two things. The first is to make sure you are who you say you are. Two, they will use this information to run a credit and background check on you.


You will need references in the sense of previous rental history. So, usually, you will need the contact information of your current landlord unless otherwise indicated.

Some places will want you to go back further, but most are fine with just having your current landlord’s information.

Now, it remains to be uncovered whether the leasing agents actually call up your current landlord and ask about you. But on the off chance that they do, it might not be a bad idea to make take the time and make sure that you are on your current landlord’s good side.

If the apartment building you are applying to does call your current landlord, know that one of the first questions they will ask is about is if you have ever had any issues paying rent on time and in full.

I say on time and in full because one without the other can signal a red flag for some leasing agents, especially those in bigger cities that have a higher rate of applications coming in.

Background and Credit Check

As I mentioned earlier, a background check and credit check will be run on you when you apply.

Background Check

The background check usually aggregates most forms of public information. Below is a chart of some of the most common pieces of information found on a background check.

Criminal and Arrest RecordsTelephone Numbers
Bankruptcy DataAddress (Past and Present)
License InformationAsset Information
Sex Offender DataEmployment History
Driving HistoryEducation Confirmation
Related PersonsSocial Media Profiles
The Most Common Information Found On A Background Check

As you can see the background check is pretty extensive. Depending on how much the leasing agent wants to know they could pay for background services that dive into related persons and your social media profiles. I doubt that this type of depth will be given to an apartment application, but it could be possible.

Credit Check

Now the Credit Check will focus more on your financial history. This is most likely where the leasing agent will determine if you would be more of a financial liability than an asset to the apartment complex.

The credit check develops what’s called a credit report for the leasing agent to review. Below is a chart of some of the most common information found on a credit report.

Name and Variations of NameName of Employer
Current And Previous AddressesInstallment Loans/Accounts
Account Payment HistoryOpen and Closed Accounts
Recent Loan ApplicationsRecent Credit Applications
Collection AccountsRevolving Accounts
The Most Common Information Found On A Credit Report

There are a few free sites where you can get a free credit report like Mint.

Security Deposit And Application Fees

Lastly, is not necessarily information you need to apply for an apartment but more so the money you need to open and close the application. When you submit your application you will most likely need to pay an application fee. The application fee is a non-refundable fee. So, this means no matter if your application is approved or denied you will not get your money back.

Easy money grab – yes, I agree.

Now, in some cases, if approved you might be able to convince the leasing agent to put the application fee cost toward your rent.

The security deposit is essentially the payment to close your application and confirm that you are moving in it. It is pretty much the final thing you do besides actually signing the lease.

The deposit can be thought of as an insurance payment for the landlord or leasing agency just in case you skip a payment or damage the place. Usually, the security deposit is one month’s rent.

Application Fee v.s. Security Deposit

Now, a big difference between the application fee and the security deposit is that the security deposit is usually refundable. So, the unused security deposit is usually returned to you in the set timeframe outlined in the lease.

Always be sure to confirm that timeframe with the leasing agent or landlord.

What are your thoughts? Did you already know what information you needed to apply for an apartment? Let us know in the comments below!

Best of luck adulting!

And Remember,

Adulting Starts Here

Thanks for reading! If you saw any value in this article, please share it with others. Adulting Starts Here is all about making adulting 101 easier. So share the information – help increase access.

Disclosure: This post may contain some referral links, if you follow them and purchase anything from the recommended services/products, I might receive some commission. I can assure you though that I would never recommend something I don’t trust myself. Thanks for supporting Adulting Starts Here!

Categorized as Moving Out

1 comment

  1. Pingback: Moving Out Of Your Parent’s House? Here’s What You Need To Know - Life v Lifestyle

Comments are closed.